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CQC is leading us down Quantity Street

CQC is leading us down Quantity Street

Columnist Dr Copperfield says if practices cannot define themselves as full, they are left with no choice but to increase the quantity of consultations by compromising their quality

Aha! Some clarity, and on two levels.

First, on the horribly fudged contractual point of whether, when we’re maxed out of appointments for the day, we can divert to 111 a) Never b) Whenever c) Only if running around like headless chickens wondering what comes after OPEL 4. And the answer, as far as the CQC is concerned, appears to be a resounding absolutely not, no way, never, don’t even think about it – assuming, that is, you don’t want your CQC Michelin stars taken from you.

Because a bunch of practices in Sussex have been downgraded to special measures for having on-the-day appointments filled by mid-morning, meaning receptionists were bouncing patients to A&E, pharmacies and 111. Cue the rest of the nation’s GPs nervously shuffling their feet and avoiding CQC eye contact.

And second, we now know what the CQC stands for. Or, more specifically, what CQC stands for. We always thought it was Care Quality Commission, right? But no, clearly it isn’t. It’s Care Quantity Commission. That appears to be the key measure. If patients have to be seen and we cannot define ourselves as full, we are left with no choice but to increase the quantity of consultations by compromising their quality. In other words, given that not even the CQC can dictate the length of a day, nor conjure up GPs when there are none, appointment lengths will have to shrink to a few minutes – roughly time to say ‘Hello’, ‘Have some antibiotics’ and ‘Goodbye’.

Result? Happy patients and happy CQC. Sure, it means we’ll be practising terrible and soul-destroying medicine, but never mind the quality etc. Besides, it’ll prime us for the Quantity Outcomes Framework that I assume will be introduced, too.

Dr Copperfield is a GP in Essex. Read more of his blogs here



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Dr No 29 September, 2023 6:47 pm

It is this particular piece of bullying that has tipped the balance for me. I think honestly this is so outrageous we should boycott the inspection process nationally. Surely we can stand together on this one?

Dylan Summers 30 September, 2023 11:24 am

“Result? Happy patients”

I doubt it though. I started in GP in 2001 and I think our standard appointment was 7.5mins then. I look back with some fondness on those days. Wham, bam, instant decision and onto the next.

But when I think of the sort of consultations I have now – navigating an IVF referral pathway or inviting a patient to explain why they think they need an extra thyroxine tablet on alternate Tuesdays – it’s a very different job now.

Turning the “appointment length” clock back 20 years might have many results – but “happy patients” is unlikely to be one of them.

Joe Josephus 30 September, 2023 6:47 pm

Actually, CQC want the impossible-both Quantity AND Quality. Practices are being set up to fail
Dr No is correct-it is totally outrageous and there doesn’t appear to be any plan from the BMA about this issue on the near horizon

Any other profession with an ounce of dignity would have taken action a long time ago

Are tube drivers, train drivers, postmen, university cleaners and librarians all subject to the same insane level of scrutiny and regulation? And yet they have all chosen to take industrial action

Also–It’s not like we earn that much as partners (especially when you tot up all the unpaid overtime–I was probably earning more as a locum SHO back in the day)

John Cormack 1 October, 2023 1:05 pm

Perhaps we should ask Fascinating Aïda to write a song about the CQC … along the same lines as their tribute to Ofsted:

Truth Finder 2 October, 2023 11:28 am

The task is impossible now. This is what happens when you get a unreasonable block contract. We should go private. The NHS is finished. Too many quangos and managers issuing unrealistic orders.