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The CQC must listen to our concerns about restarting GP inspections

Routine inspections of GP practices will soon recommence. In this global crisis, general practice is busier than ever, and sitting on the timebomb of an avalanche of non-Covid diseases that will be hitting in the not-so distant future.

Announcing a reintroduction of dysfunctional bureaucracy in general practice is another ill-thought continuation of shambolic management during the pandemic.

Ask any GP how much time and resources away from clinical work is wasted to meet the unrealistic expectations of the CQC inspectors. In the BMA’s recent survey, over half (55%) of respondents said they felt ‘less burdened’ by bureaucracy as a result of coronavirus measures, while 82% felt the reduced paperwork must be retained in the long term.

Lessons must be learnt, rather than the return of ‘business as usual’

Inspecting GP surgeries sounds good in the headline world of newspapers and soundbite public opinion, but serves no purpose in improving safety or quality of work. Matt Hancock and NHS England must learn lessons from the Covid-19 crisis, rather than returning to ‘business as usual’.

If the environment in which GPs were providing services was increasingly challenging, the post-pandemic one would be the straw to break the camel’s back. The remote consultation methods and workload pressures during the time of Covid-19 are leading to low morale and stress, causing many GPs to consider quitting and seeking early retirement.

I would urge NHS England to seriously consider the request from the BMA and Professor Clare Gerada’s letter to the chief inspector of the CQC, and abandon the idea for CQC inspections for at least two years.

Dr Kailash Chand OBE is a retired GP in Tameside