CQC ratings penalise poorly-funded GP practices, BMA warns

The GPC has called for the 'unfair' CQC inspection regime to be scrapped following analysis that showed practices rated 'inadequate' or 'requires improvement' receive less funding per patient than those with higher ratings.

The findings echo results a GPonline analysis last year that found evidence of a correlation between practice underfunding and poor CQC performance.

The BMA study suggests that practices' ability to perform well in CQC inspections is ‘clearly’ linked to the amount of funding they receive. The union said its findings call into question the fairness of the watchdog’s inspection process.

Reacting to the findings, GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul reiterated calls for the current CQC regime to be scrapped and ‘replaced by a proportionate and fair alternative’.

The BMA analysis found that ‘outstanding’ practices receive an average of £152 per patient, while ‘good’ practices receive £140.

Map: GP CQC ratings

But it showed that practices rated inadequate received £128 per patients – and practices rated requires improvement just £111 on average.

Over 2,800 GP practices that had been rated by the CQC in 2015 were included in the study.

Dr Nagpaul said: ‘This analysis shows there is a clear link between the amount of funding a GP practice receives and the rating they are allocated by the CQC.

‘Despite this, the CQC takes no account of resources available to a GP practice when they grade their care, even if this leads to GPs and their staff being publically shamed with an "inadequate" or "needs improvement" rating.

‘This is wholly unfair given the obvious impact that funding has on the ability of GPs and staff to run their practices, and which will impact on the CQC’s own rating system. The research also demonstrates the wide disparity between funding for practices which is completely unacceptable.

CQC assessment

‘NHS England needs to listen to the BMA’s Urgent Prescription for General Practice campaign and ensure that GP practices receive an uplift in funding that results in every practice in England getting the same high level of support.

‘We also need the current CQC assessment system to end and be replaced by a proportionate and fair alternative, especially as a recent BMA survey showed the vast majority of GP practices had lost faith in its flawed inspection regime. GP practices must not be unfairly judged when they are not being given the tools they need to effectively run their practices to provide care to the public.’

Analysis published by GPonline in January revealed that there is also a clear correlation between patient survey scores and the funding GP practices receive.

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