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CQC: ‘We apologise for risk banding publication’

‘Today, the CQC advisory group of GP leaders and experts in GP data and quality met. A range of issues were discussed relating to CQC’s use of data to inform inspection and regulation. All parties are committed to the principle of the appropriate use of data to inform the regulation of general practice.

CQC has and as a result it has agreed not to continue with the use of bandings for GP Intelligent Monitoring, as well as changing the language used to highlight variation between practices so that it does not imply a risk to patient safety. This was agreed at the CQC Board meeting yesterday and was favourably received by members of the advisory group.

The BMA, the RCGP and others had raised serious concerns with CQC on the use of data in producing “bands”, which were seen as a direct judgement of care. Concerns had also been raised about the use of the word “risk” when analysing variations in the data.

CQC has carried out a thorough review of GP Intelligent Monitoring analyses, including how the public uses this information, following the errors found last year in the original publication. CQC will be correcting GP Intelligent Monitoring reports to improve them, particularly around the analysis of variation between practices. These will be updated next week to reflect the changes needed.

What we published wasn’t right regarding the use of language around risk, and on the analysis of variation between practices. We apologise. We also acknowledge that bandings have been perceived as judgements about the quality of care. That was not our intent but today we confirm we are removing them for GP Intelligent Monitoring nonetheless.

In conclusion, we are at the beginning of a journey to use data effectively to regulate general practice. We will continue to improve and are committed to continuing productive and engaged discussions with GP stakeholders on our developing approach to regulation, which will continue to be underpinned by the appropriate use of data. CQC has listened to the concerns raised by the profession and are addressing those concerns.

Yours sincerely,

David Behan, chief executive, Care Quality Commission

Professor Steve Field, chief inspector of general ractice, Care Quality Commission’