CQC sets out GP practice registration timetable but no cost detail

Practices will be able to set up online accounts to begin the process of registration with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) from July this year.

Professor David Haslam: 'The majority of practices and providers of primary care are of good quality and are already doing everything that needs to be done'
Professor David Haslam: 'The majority of practices and providers of primary care are of good quality and are already doing everything that needs to be done'

A guidance document sent by the regulator to all GP practices in England this week, An overview of registration with CQC, sets out details of how the process will work.

However, details of how much practices will pay to register with the regulator will remain unclear until after a consultation later this year.

The CQC is set to pilot this summer how inspections of GP practices, which will begin from April 2013, will work.

The regulator also admits in the guidance document that details of how it will work alongside emerging organisations set up under the government’s NHS reforms, such as the NHS Commissioning Board, remain unclear.

Professor David Haslam, GP registration adviser to the CQC, said: 'We are confident that the majority of practices and providers of primary care are of good quality and are already doing everything that needs to be done to be compliant with the essential standards of quality and safety.'

The overview document says that practices will receive letters in July inviting them to set up an online registration account by submitting basic contact information.

Practices will then be able to begin compiling information required for full registration as an NHS provider with the CQC.

Practices will be asked to pick a 28-day window between September and December 2012 to submit their application to register.

The guidance sets out how practices’ registration will be affected by any joint working initiatives with other practices or providers.

Practices with more than one GP would be expected to register as a partnership, single-handers as an individual, and charities or limited liability partnerships providing GP services as organisations.

Practices with branch surgeries will be able to complete just a single registration. However, they will need to include separate information for each ‘location’ from which services are provided independently.

Applications for registration must detail all regulated activities practices provide, covering categories such as personal care, diagnostics and other areas.

They must give details of how the practice complies with a series of ‘essential standards’ covering issues such as staffing, medicines management, and day-to-day management of services.

Practices are likely to hold much of this information in some form already, the guidance says, and should start to identify this information as soon as possible. They should also consider which regulated activities they will need to register.

The CQC will host a series of events in May and June to explain the process.

CQC chief executive Cynthia Bower announced plans to quit later this year after a critical review of the organisation.

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