This site is intended for health professionals only

Dear CQC, I feel your pain

So, ‘GPs to be interviewed to measure their compassion,’ says CQC lead. Cue some not-very compassionate comments about the CQC. You can’t measure compassion, more time-wasting by po-faced jobsworths, we don’t have time to be compassionate thanks to initiatives like the CQC, blah  blah blah.

And yes, I admit, when I read that this was all part of the CQC trying to make the inspection regime more ‘holistic’, my first reaction was that the holism I’d like them to demonstrate is the ability to dig one roughly six feet deep, climb in and allow me to shovel dirt on top.

But. We’re always indignantly banging on about the various scrutineers of general practice only measuring what can be measured and ignoring the truly important stuff like go on, admit it, compassion.

Now, I don’t want you to think I’ve suddenly gone soft on 1, Patients, and 2, The CQC. I haven’t. I’ll give patients a good dose of compassion when they need/deserve it, but I’m also compassionate towards, say, my prescribing budget, my referral stats, my local radiology department, A&E workload, my reception staff, etc, all of which sometimes require me to give patients the opposite of compassion, i.e. a bollocking.

And as for the CQC, I still think the concept is a massive bureaucratic, time-wasting pile of crud which should have been strangled at birth and I’ve gone on record as saying as much, with added swear words.

If we do have to jump through hoops, though, I’d much rather do so by chatting to someone about my philosophy of practice for 10 minutes than by writing a frigging hand-washing policy. Trouble is, as it stands, we’ll have to do both – so, for the time being, the CQC lackeys probably still deserve the abuse that will inevitably be heaped upon them.

If they’re reading, though, I feel your pain. And you might want to make a note of that.

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. You can email him at and follow him on Twitter @DocCopperfield.