The call for GP practices in England to declare themselves as ‘requires improvement’ to the CQC likely won’t achieve anything but it’s a great PR stunt, says Jaimie Kaffash
There are some important motions being discussed at the LMCs conference later this month, such as cutting routine hours to 9-5 and the various motions around the 2024 contract. The problem with these is that they simply won’t happen. Even if LMC leaders vote in favour of radical solutions, they will be dismissed in the very first negotiation with NHS England to the relief – I suspect – of the BMA GP Committee negotiators.
So it is of no surprise that the motion that captured the imagination of GPs most is the call for all practices in England to declare themselves ‘requires improvement’ because they can’t currently provide safe care. Like many of the other motions, I’m under no illusion that this will achieve anything. And, if I am honest, I don’t know the legalities around this, and whether the CQC will accept this.
But as a PR stunt, this ticks all the right boxes (which is an irony the CQC might appreciate). It is turning one of the most frustrating aspects of general practice in England – CQC inspections – into a weapon. It is something that can be done with relatively little hassle. And it is something that the media can’t turn against GPs.
Most of all, it is framing the problem as a systemic issue. It is saying that care being provided in primary care is unsafe, and that is nothing to do with the curtains being the wrong length, or the carpet being the wrong hue or whatever. Care is unsafe because what is being asked of GPs can’t be provided with the resources going into general practice.
And who knows – if we are really lucky, the CQC might feel they won’t need to inspect practices. Having said that, those boxes don’t tick themselves.