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NHS Commissioning Board should pay CQC registration fees, says GPC

The BMA has called for the NHS Commissioning Board to pay practices’ CQC registration fees, which could leave some partnerships with a £15,000 bill under proposals outlined by the regulator.

The CQC has been consulting on its proposed fees, which range from £550 for a practice with one branch and up to 5,000 patients to £850 for a practice with more than 15,000 patients. Fees for practices with multiple branches range from £1,200 for a practice with two branches, to £15,000 for a practice with more than 40 branches.

However, the GPC said in its response to the consultation, which ends today, that this places unfair burdens on GPs.

It said: ‘No other doctors in the NHS pay personally for the CQC registration of their organisations and we do not believe that GP contractors should either. If fees are to be applied then we believe that they should be fully reimbursed by the commissioner of general practice.’

The GPC was concerned the CQC would have no incentive to reduce inspections and fees for inspections if GP practices fund the inspections themselves.

However, it added that if fees were going to be applied to primary care medical services providers, it was ‘broadly content’ with the model suggested, which uses both branch numbers and list size to calculate how much practices should pay.

The response also suggested that reducing duplication between CQC requirements for registration and the information required by the NHS Commissioning Board as part of contract management processes should also become a CQC objective, and that avoiding duplication and thus the cost of regulation should be reflected in lower fees charged to providers.

A spokesperson for the NHS CB said: ‘It is a well-established principle that all regulated providers should meet the costs of regulation, and - in line with this principle - all health and care providers regulated by the Care Quality Commission have had to meet the costs of registration.

‘Decisions on the overall value of GP contract payments for 2013/14 are a matter for the Government, taking account of the recommendations due to be made in February 2012 by the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB).’