This week, Pulse reported that the CQC is set to use information it already holds to carry out remote checks on each GP practice every month to assess its risk to patients. Now, it has to be said this is a pilot. And, at least we can say that – unlike the dreaded full inspections – there is little GP workload involved in preparing for it. They will be using information they already have.
Those are the positives out of the way. The negatives are a lot easier to find. First, the CQC’s ‘intelligent monitoring’ initiative has already used data it already held in order to assess GP practices. And, with the exception of NHS England’s recent letter on face-to-face consultations, it was the biggest error of judgement I can remember by health managers (and there is a lot of competition).
Although it is just a pilot, I can’t be confident that similarly poor judgements will be made on imperfect data – which includes online feedback left by patients about a service and information from other agencies, including Healthwatch and local authorities.
But bigger than this is the tone around this new pilot. There is still talk about ‘high risk’ and ‘low risk’. To adopt a policy that is predicated on GPs being potential risks at a time like this will do nothing for patients’ trust in GPs
At a time when morale is so fragile, couldn’t they treat GPs as adults?
Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter @jkaffash or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.