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The CQC has the right idea, wrong time



Have you noticed how many patient safety issues there have been in the past two months? There is only one possible explanation – it is because we haven’t had the CQC policing the system.

Luckily, they announced last week that they were going to be having telephone chats with practices, starting with those they have the greatest concerns about. Phew.

The CQC’s chief inspector of primary medical services Dr Rosie Benneyworth said the ‘regular conversations’ would enable the CQC ‘to continue delivering our purpose during this period’ and ‘support the sector where it’s needed’. She added: ‘The idea is for these conversations to be open and honest about the challenges you are facing and will enable us to support you to address these.’ These will not be inspections, the CQC emphasises.

This will cause undue stress for an NHS that does not need undue stress

In the real world, of course, having the CQC checking in is not the top of anyone’s wish list right now. There are other things happening, and these CQC chats will cause undue stress for an NHS that does not need undue stress.

But, in post-Covid times,it would be a real step forward if we replaced inspections and ratings with a body that, as the CQC puts it, allows GPs to ’be open and honest about the challenges you are facing’ and is there to ‘support you’. It goes without saying that this cannot be the CQC, with its history.

Such an approach would do far more for is patient safety than inspections. But I wouldn’t hold your breath – or reinstall those fluffy toys – just yet.

Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter @jkaffash or email him at editor@pulsetoday.co.uk