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Q&A – CQC inspections

When did inspections begin?

Inspections began from 1 April after the CQC took responsibility for inspecting GPs.

How often are inspections?

Currently every two years, but the regulator is looking at introducing a more risk-based model of when it will inspect practices, with those identified as ‘high risk’ being inspected more often.

How much notice will practices receive before an inspection?

Practices will be given 48 hours notice before a scheduled inspection and are due to be inspected every two years. However, for responsive inspections - which follow up on areas of concern from former inspections or other sources - practices may not receive any notice. Notice may or may not be given to practices for themed inspections which look at one area of health provision.

What will inspectors test against?

An inspector will test the practice against five of the sixteen outcomes derived from the essential standards, but can look at more outcomes if they deem it necessary. If you are found non-compliant, the inspector will assess the impact on patients. This can be minor, moderate or major- a rating which helps the inspector decide what action to take. A judgement framework is used to decide whether practices are compliant and what action can be taken - with five domains, such as whether the practice is caring, safe and well-led. The regulator is also looking at how it can measure the care and compassion shown by practices.

What training have CQC inspectors received?

CQC inspector will receive around three months’ worth of training after they are appointed, and have received in-house training modules on inspecting primary medical services. They have experience inspecting from the GP the pilot as well as inspecting private GPs, who have been registered with the CQC since October 2010 and were also previously registered with the Health Care Commission.

Who will accompany inspectors?

A GP, practice nurse or practice manager will accompany inspectors visiting GP practices. So far the CQC has appointed 65 GPs, practice nurses or practice managers to accompany inspectors, but it is looking to recruit ‘as many as possible’.