CQC and BMA gripped in battle over GP inspections

The CQC has blasted the BMA for its attack on the regulatory body’s regime, saying it will “make no apology” for acting in the best interests of patients.

The medical union criticised the CQC once again today – just a week after it hit back at the inspectorate’s intention to hike its fees – by exposing the results of a new survey of over 1,900 GP practices in England.

Allegedly triggered by growing feedback from “grassroots GPs” about the impact of the CQC’s inspection regime on general practice, the survey indicated that 80% of doctors say preparing for an inspection takes time away from patient care.

Another 70% had to spend funding on staff overtime while preparing for inspections, while 30% were forced to employ locums. Nearly 90% of surveyed GPs also claimed that on the day of the inspection, staff had to reduce services available to patients, with the majority reporting a reduction in nursing time.

But the CQC argued that refusing to acknowledge problems and blaming them for exposing concerns “neither supports the profession or protects patients”.

“There can be no improvement without genuine transparency,” a CQC spokeswoman said. “Sometimes this will involve telling uncomfortable truths.”

The spokeswoman added that the inspectorate worked hard to ensure that surgery inspections do not “impact adversely on the practice being able to provide patient care by working with practice staff to design the agenda for that day”.

“The feedback we’ve received indicates that surgeries already performing well do not find the preparation for inspection arduous, as the BMA suggests,” she continued.

“Not only do patients value our inspections, but GPs themselves have told us inspection has helped drive improvement (nearly two thirds of those surveyed). We’ve also found over three quarters (76%) of GP practices and out-of-hours services agreed their inspection provided a thorough review of whether they were safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led.”

But Dr Chaang Nagpaul, the union’s GP committee chair, said: “Vital NHS resources are being wasted on employing locums and staff to cover the work of a GP practice in the run up to and while the CQC is in the building.

“These findings come at a time when the CQC is proposing unacceptable and extortionate rises in their fees which will pull even more resources away from frontline services.”

Dr Nagpaul said GP services must be properly assessed to reassure the public, but argued the current system of doing so is “disproportionate, onerous and flawed”.

“It is unacceptable that precious resources and time is being taken away from patient care when general practice is under unprecedented pressure from soaring patient demand, falling resources, staff shortages and unresourced work being moved from hospitals into the community,” he continued.

“As motions at tomorrow’s Special Conference of GPs make clear, the current CQC inspection regime is not fit for purpose, and needs wholesale reform that produces an effective, slimmed down process focusing on ensuring a safe, effective service for patients.”

Tomorrow’s conference will bring grassroots GPs from across the country to discuss the “crisis facing general practice”. A motion was submitted to the conference about the future of the CQC, which includes claims that over-regulation and monitoring of the profession has effectively “eroded morale and had an adverse effect on the sustainability of general practice”.


Susan   20/04/2016 at 09:47

Why do GPS think they should not be inspected? It seems they at getting off very lightly anyway! When we were inspected we were told we would not be inspected on a Monday because we would be too busy! Nor a Friday or the day after a bank holiday for the same reason. I'm sure the hospitals don't get the same choices in case they are busy!! Just knuckle down. Stop moaning and get on with it like everyone else has to.

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