Our practice has 11,000 patients and seven GPs. This was our first CQC inspection, so we made a special effort and gave it our very best shot, as we didn’t know what to expect.
We looked at every area of the practice, including the infrastructure and physical objects. For example, we had to splash out on some new chairs that comply with workplace seating rules, and we even got in the decorator to give our walls a lick of paint.
The main thing for us was the amount of work involved for the staff. While they could do the mandatory training modules in their own time, the amount of additional paperwork involved was considerable. For example, we had templates for policies and had to go through them all make sure they were tailored to our practice. The CQC toolkit that we bought listed at least 200 policies.
We worked out that the whole exercise cost us £430,000, mainly in staff time, but including £15,000 on decorating and cleaning.
Staff agreed to take time off in lieu instead of charging overtime, which would have been payable at the weekend rate. But the process has left us with a staggering amount of time owing, so productivity decreases.
I simply can’t imagine how practices with severe recruitment problems would cope with the work needed to prepare for an inspection. We only did so thanks to our exceptional practice manager, John Macphee.
Thankfully, we found the CQC inspection overall to be a positive experience and the inspectors were very supportive. We received an assessment of ‘good’ and were found to be ‘outstanding’ for chronic disease management and being well led.
Dr Thomas Marland is a GP in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire