Derbyshire GP practice to launch judicial review over 'unfair' CQC treatment

A practice in Derbyshire has applied for a judicial review against the CQC over the handling of its inspection report and a subsequent appeal, after securing financial support from the General Practice Defence Fund (GPDF).

Dr John Canning, treasurer of the General Practitioners Defence Fund
Dr John Canning, treasurer of the General Practitioners Defence Fund

The General Practitioners Defence Fund (GPDF) has set aside a 'significant six-figure sum' to finance the case against the CQC.

In a letter to LMCs confirming the decision to fund the legal challenge, the GPDF treasurer Dr John Canning said the practice had applied for the judicial review on the grounds that the CQC acted 'in a manner which is neither fair, equitable, reasonable nor operating within the parameters of natural justice'.

The practice has applied for the case and submitted 'all the necessary information', the letter said, and is now awaiting confirmation from the court that the application to proceed to judicial review has been granted.

Dr Canning told GPonline: ‘This is a judicial review that we are funding; the application is made by the practice. This is not an action by the GPDF itself – or the BMA or GPC. The GPDF is underwriting the cost.

Map: GP CQC ratings

‘Advice from our lawyers is that we should not be discussing details of the case, other than to say that we feel the CQC’s actions are not fair or reasonable. The ball is now in the hands of the CQC and the courts to see where we go next.’

The letter said: 'The background to this case is complex, and not for public comment at this stage, but I am sure you agree that English GPs find the inspection regime of the CQC to be a heavy burden and one which takes time away from patient care.

'In this context, the GPDF was made aware of a practice where the inspection report and, subsequently, the ensuing appeal/review process was, in our view, not managed appropriately by the CQC.

'Based on legal advice, the GPDF determined that this is a case where it has a responsibility to the GP community to ensure that the CQC process is set before the Courts for Judicial Review on the grounds that the CQC acted in a manner which is neither fair, equitable, reasonable nor operating within the parameters of natural justice.'

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey confirmed that Derbyshire LMC had approached the GPDF for financial support in launching the challenge against the CQC on behalf of one of its constituent practices.

A CQC spokeswoman said: ‘Our approach to regulation is proportionate and transparent. All providers have the right to appeal regulatory decisions.’

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