Whilst the RCGP and the GPC continue to call for the immediate suspension of CQC inspections of GP practices, and the BMA voices its significant concerns about the operation of the CQC, the CQC continues to plough ahead with their inspection schedule of GP practices unabated.
For those awaiting a visit from the CQC, some comfort can be taken from the statistics of inspections to date. The Health Service Journal collated information from the 792 inspection reports published by the CQC since inspections began under the new regime in October 2014.
More than four in five GP practices were rated as good (82%) or outstanding (3%). So, with 85% reaching the ‘pass mark’ or higher, what of the others? 11% were rated ‘requires improvement’, and 4% were given the lowest rating of ‘inadequate’.
What the statistics reveal is that of those practices inspected, 29 face special measures, or worse.
The question then is how do practices awaiting inspection access the ‘ounce of prevention’ rather than have to endure the ‘pound of cure’.
Fortunately there are a wealth of resources out there and perhaps now is a good juncture to put these in one place for ease of access.
Going back to basics, a thorough knowledge of the CQC Provider Handbook for GP practices, and the appendices to the same, is hugely important. In addition CQC have prepared some helpful guidance upon what to expect when they inspect. These can be accessed on the CQC website.
Just as useful, and also on the CQC website, are the five pages of ‘myth busters and tips’ prepared by Nigel Sparrow the Senior National GP Advisor and Responsible Officer at the CQC. Nigel speaks with some authority and with a foot in both camps, having been a GP for 30 years, previously vice chair of the RCGP Council, and currently a national elected member of the RCGP Council. His tips are heavily endorsed.
Perhaps the most useful reading is to be found in the excellent practical guidance prepared by the BMA, who inter alia, remind practices that they can approach their Local Medical Committee if they wish an LMC representative to attend an inspection as an ‘observer’.
Finally, your reading should include Issue 2 of Practice Matters which can be found on the Medical Protection Society website.
Once this knowledge is absorbed, the practical application of the same to your practice is required.
As we all know the many hours required to ensure this is properly done are, sadly, hours lost to providing good quality health care to patients, and many would not disagree with the view that passing the inspection does not necessarily correlate with providing good or outstanding GP and out of hours services.
Nevertheless, this is where we are, and for the vast majority of GP practices thorough and detailed preparation will ensure a ‘good’ or in a few cases an ‘outstanding’ rating.
If you wish to discuss this article further or wish to discuss this personally, please contact Jeremy Scott on 07971 520407
Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.