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The CQC has failed its IQ test again

The CQC must regret calling its data-gathering exercise in primary care ‘Intelligent Monitoring’. The presentation of the data failed its initial IQ test so badly that it had to be withdrawn, and the regulator was forced to issue an apology.

The data might have disappeared from the regulator’s website, but it has not gone away. The CQC has had months to explore how to do its job better, ready for a relaunch at the end of the summer.

‘Don’t mess up this time’ must have been the mantra at its HQ: ‘make it water-tight’, ‘make it intelligent’.

And so the moment comes: the report arrives for our practice, intelligently emailed in advance for us to check it over, to iron out any mistakes. It has been compiled with the ‘latest available data’.

Only it isn’t the latest available data. None of the figures in our practice report are less than six months old, and 19 out of 33 indicators are based on figures from March 2013 to March 2014, or earlier.

These are the QOF figures from the year before last: exactly the same as in the ones used in the reports published nearly a year ago.

So any patient who looks at their practice report and compares it with the previous data will wonder what their practice has been doing.

“They’re as bad as ever!” They will say to themselves. “Their figures haven’t improved at all!”

It’s like declaring Chelsea to be Premiership also-rans because they didn’t win the league in 2014, pretending that the 2015 results aren’t yet available, or judging a school on how its pupils performed at GCSE last year, when this year’s results have just been published.

If the CQC really think this year’s QOF results aren’t yet available they could have asked us. We know ours and we’d have passed them on.

Monitoring? Well only if you count following a trail that’s nearly 18 months old.

Intelligent? Definitely not.

Enough to cause an outcry leading to another reluctant apology? I certainly hope so.

Dr Martin Brunet is a GP in Guildford. You can tweet him @DocMartin68

A CQC spokesperson told Pulse that Dr Brunet’s practice inspection report included the latest available QOF data.