CQC inspections reducing GPs to tears, LMC warns

'Aggressive' and 'bullying' CQC inspectors have reduced GP partners and practice managers to tears, an LMC has warned.

Dr Robert Morley: GPs reduced to tears by inspections
Dr Robert Morley: GPs reduced to tears by inspections

Birmingham LMC's executive secretary Dr Robert Morley said that he has seen GP partners in tears over comments made by CQC inspectors, with some fearing their practices could be closed.

Some inspectors have ‘no background in general practice’ and ‘demonstrated complete ignorance to what GPs should and shouldn’t be doing’, Dr Morley said.

One practice was incorrectly told that it was compulsory to have a patient participation group, he added.

GPC negotiator Dr Peter Holden said: ‘This is the problem. All they are interested in is if patients are happy. This is the national health service, not the national happiness service.

‘It is about time the CQC wound its neck in. There is no room for bullying inspectors.’

Chief inspector of general practice Professor Steve Field has said that inspection teams will be loaded with GPs in future. A CQC spokesman confirmed that 80 GPs have applied to be in the inspection teams, and said all complaints would be investigated and used to improve its work.

The GPC has called for inspection teams to include frontline GPs who are currently working, but warned that this would be difficult because of the profession's high workload.

GP inspectors should not be looking for gold-standard general practice, Dr Morley added, but should be looking for what is safe.

Dr Holden, who said that his Derbyshire practice has spent £16,000 to become CQC-compliant, said: ‘There should be a frontline GP involved certainly, because it comes down to one word – perspective - and they have got it wrong.

‘If a hospital fails CQC they get money thrown at them. For £60 a year what do they want, blood?’

Dr Morley called for the general practice CQC regime to be scrapped. He called on NHS England as the commissioner of general practice to take action on poor performing practices.

‘The overwhelming majority of practices have incredibly high standards with extremely limited resources and should be applauded, but there are a very small minority that don’t,’ he said.

‘Why do we need the CQC when we have contractual levers that NHS England holds?’

Practices are reluctant to ‘put their heads above the parapet’ and complain about the inspections, Dr Morley said.

A CQC spokesman said: ‘We are aware of the issues raised by Dr Morley. Professor Field has asked him to forward his concerns and details of the practice several times and would encourage him and the practices involved to contact the CQC.

‘CQC is always keen to hear comments and suggestions about performance and the conduct of staff, including complaints. CQC investigates every complaint it receives and use that feedback to help develop and improve its work, CQC is currently changing its model of inspections with GPs and nursing staff will be taking a significant role in the inspection of practices.’

Visit our CQC resource centre at Medeconomics.co.uk to see how we can help your practice to survive a CQC inspection.

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