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Practices ‘hired extra staff’ to prepare for CQC inspections

Some GP practices hired extra staff in preparation for their CQC pilot inspection, a commission official has told Pulse.

The CQC has published its findings from the pilots, which were carried out in August and involved 12 inspectors and 42 volunteer practices of various sizes.

Vicky Howes, design team leader for GP registration at the CQC, told Pulse: ‘We found practices were over-preparing and doing more work than necessary. We don’t expect any preparation. Some practices hired extra staff.’

The CQC announced that it was going to give 48 hours’ notice for inspections to prevent them ‘overpreparing’.

The commission also told Pulse that practices are currently sending in registration applications, which include an opportunity to self-declare non-compliance.

A spokesperson said practices were most worried they might not be compliant with standards on premises, infection control and safeguarding standards, although some of these would be GPs being ‘over-cautious’.

Dr John Canning, secretary of Cleveland LMC, said although 48 hours appeared to be ‘very short notice’ it was ‘not unreasonable’.

‘As I understand it, the inspectors will be looking to understand how the practice is functioning on a day-to-day basis and working with its staff, and that is something general practice should be prepared for any time.’

Meanwhile, the CQC said one practice has already received a visit after tweeting that it had ticked all registration form boxes as compliant because it ‘couldn’t be bothered’.

A spokesperson confirmed the CQC would gather information from ‘a number of different sources’ including Twitter, primary care organisations and the public. If the CQC suspects claims made on a registration form are inaccurate, the registration team will call the practice or visit the surgery in order to receive assurance that the practice should be registered, the spokesperson added.