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Practices with poor CQC ratings ‘receive less funding’

Practices that do better in their CQC inspections receive more funding per patient, according to new research.

The BMA looked at 2,814 GP practices in England inspected by the CQC in 2015, finding that practices which received an ‘outstanding’ rating received on average £152 per patient, whereas those rated ‘inadequate’ received only £111 per patient.

Practices rated as ‘good’ received £140 and those given ‘needs improvement’ received £128 per patient on average.

The CQC does not take into account resources when publishing their ratings of GP practices. The average funding for a GP practice is £141 per patient – less than the average funding for an ‘outstanding’ practice.

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the analysis showed that ’there is a clear link between the amount of funding a GP practice receives and the rating they are allocated by the CQC’. 

He said: ’Despite this, the CQC takes no account of resources available to a GP practice when they grade their care, even if this leads to GPs and their staff being publically shamed with an “inadequate” or “needs improvement” rating.

’This is wholly unfair given the obvious impact that funding has on the ability of GPs and staff to run their practices, and which will impact on the CQC’s own rating system. The research also demonstrates the wide disparity between funding for practices which is completely unacceptable.’

A previous investigation showed that practices that receive poor CQC ratings tend to have underlying issues, including recruitment problems.

It comes as the GPC funding body is supporting a judicial review against the CQC. It also comes CQC fees increased by almost £2,000 for the average practice in April.

The CQC inspections regime

The CQC has inspected over a third of practices (35%) so far and has rated the vast majority (87%) either ’good’ or ‘outstanding’ – and it is expected that the first round of inspections of all practices will be completed by 2017. 

Last month’s General Practice Forward View confirmed that the CQC will scale back its inspections for GP practices once every provider has been assessed, and move to a ‘risk-based’ approach.

GP practices will subsequently be inspected less frequently – and those that are rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ will be inspected only once every five years.