The CQC has opened up a consultation on its next phase of GP regulation, which is scheduled to be implemented from October this year.
The consultation, which will run for eight weeks, is the second held by the regulator on its plans to overhaul how it monitors and inspects providers.
It comes after 91% of practices were found good or outstanding in the first wave of inspections. The watchdog said it was now looking to take a more proportionate, targeted and collaborative approach to regulating GP practices.
The consultation asks for feedback on plans to have GPs at good and outstanding practices provide information annually to the CQC instead of being visited by once a year by inspectors.
Practices will submit this information online, it said. If the CQC does not consider there to be any concerns in this data, these practices will not need to be visited again by inspectors for up to five years.
The CQC said this information should include what has changed about the quality of care provided over the last year, the practice’s plans to improve, examples of good practice and how it provides ‘effective and responsive care’ to each of the key population groups.
The CQC intends to collaborate over time to share this information with the GMC and NHS England, thereby ‘reducing duplication and the burden on providers’.
‘Every year we will formally review all of the information we have about a provider,’ the consultation document says. ‘This will ensure that our monitoring and planning decisions are made clearly, consistently and transparently.
Quality of care
‘Our inspectors will consider whether there have been any changes to the quality of a provider’s care since our last inspection or if the available evidence still supports the rating.’
Following this – and if the information indicates there may be an issue – the CQC may decide to re-inspect the practice earlier. If no action is required, the practice will simply be informed the review was carried out.
The report also confirms how GP Insight – which replaces its current ‘intelligent monitoring’ system – will work. This will present practice data against national comparators to identify potential changes in the quality of care.
CQC chief executive David Behan said: ‘Everyone has the right to experience safe, high quality and compassionate care. We are seeking views on how CQC’s regulation will play its part in achieving this.
‘As providers respond to the rapidly changing health and care landscape by exploring new models of care, we are consulting on how we will regulate these to ensure that we encourage improvement, collaboration and innovation while ensuring that people get good, safe care.
‘This is the second in a series of three consultations aimed at simplifying and strengthening the way we regulate. Today we are proposing changes to how we regulate adult social care and primary medical services; changes which will help us to use information more effectively so we can target our inspections in services where there is greatest risk to the quality and safety of care. We will continue to report on quality in an open and transparent way to help services to improve and also to help people make decisions about their care.
‘I hope as many people as possible will take the time to read our proposals and tell us what they think.’