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CQC’s discredited ‘risk bandings’ continue to be published on Government website

The Government’s Trip Advisor-style website for comparing healthcare providers is still publishing the CQC’s intelligent monitoring ‘risk bandings’ for GP practices despite the regulator dropping them four weeks ago, in a situation described by the GPC as a ‘cock-up’.

The MyNHS website, which was launched in the Autumn of last year, has continued to display the ‘risk bandings’ of every GP practice, even though the CQC itself admitted they were flawed following pressure from the profession.

GP leaders said the situation was ‘outrageous, and demanded the ratings be withdrawn immediately.

The risk bandings took data from the GP patient survey and QOF indicators to determine whether practices are ‘risky’, and gave ratings to practices from one (risky) to six (little risk).

After the CQC published its intelligent monitoring data in November last year, practices that found themselves in the bandings one and two were splashed across local media, while national media ran headlines stating that one in six practices were considered a risk to patient safety.

But the CQC removed the bandings from its website in March and wrote a formal apology to GPs – admitting that the language of ‘risk’ it used ‘wasn’t right’, adding that it recognised that patients would have perceived the publication of the bandings as a judgement of the quality of care.

The MyNHS website – which was trailed by health secretary Jeremy Hunt since 2013 – is intended to provide the public with more information on the standards of care they are receiving.

The DH previously said that the risk bandings would be put on the website until practices received their formal inspection ratings.

A spokesperson told Pulse earlier that it was in the process of ‘taking it down in line with the CQC’.

However, Dr Robert Morley, chair of the GPC’s contracts and regulations subcommittee, said it was ‘outrageous’ that the bandings were still in the public domain, considering the CQC had itself discredited the ratings almost four weeks ago.

Dr Morley added: ‘It is outrageous that the totally discredited and now withdrawn CQC risk banding rankings are still being publicised on a DH website [almost four weeks] after CQC belatedly bowed to pressure and performed its much-welcomed  U-turn. I can only assume it’s related to cock-up rather than conspiracy.

‘The DH must remove this unfair and misleading information immediately.’