GPC condemns bid to use revalidation data in CQC checks on GP practices

Individual GPs' revalidation data should be used by the CQC to inform judgments on practices, its officials have said, in a move condemned by the GPC.

Dr Dean Marshall: Condemned plans to use revalidation data in practice checks (Photo: JH Lancy)
Dr Dean Marshall: Condemned plans to use revalidation data in practice checks (Photo: JH Lancy)

CQC board members called for the watchdog to be handed access to revalidation data after a review of its controversial intelligent monitoring system.

The watchdog has admitted data behind the monitoring tool was ‘not as good as we would like it to be’, but remains committed to a ‘more data-driven’ approach to assessing GP practices.

But GPC revalidation lead Dr Dean Marshall said using revalidation data in this way would be ‘inappropriate’ and ‘damaging’, and it would undermine GP appraisal.

CQC chiefs also said they would like to scrutinise how effectively individual GPs had diagnosed patients, and it was ‘concerning’ that they did not yet have access to this data.

GP practice monitoring

The comments came at an April board meeting, where results from a CQC review into the GP intelligent monitoring programme were presented.

Dr Marshall told GPonline: ‘I think this is performance management gone mad. Having people sit in judgment of others by retrospectively looking at their records is completely and utterly unfair.’

CQC board member Camilla Cavendish said at the meeting: ‘I remain concerned that we are analysing practices and not individual GPs, which I think the public would really like to see us do.

‘Whatever data is being used for revalidation, we should be seeing. If you have individual GPs in one part of the system going through a kind of MOT which is judging their individual performance, and then you have us sitting over here in another part of the system apparently unable to see that data or use it – that seems to me to be crazy.’

GP diagnosis data

Chief inspector for general practice Professor Steve Field added that the CQC would like to track the diagnosis data of individual GPs, and whether they referred patients correctly.

He said: ‘Any new diagnosis of cancer is a significant event. We should start looking at why a patient presented in a certain way, whether the patient was referred within the two-week wait pathway. This isn’t happening in all cases.’

Dr Marshall said: ‘Revalidation is the process by which an individual doctor retains their licence to practise and should not be used for some other purpose, such as the CQC trying to decide on the quality of a practice.

‘It would undermine the whole appraisal process, because doctors will then be potentially reluctant to reveal things if they know that may well be used against them.

‘The profession signs up to revalidation on the basis that there will be an appraisal process and that revalidation would only be used to allow that doctor to prove that they were fit to be revalidated and keep their licence to practise. It’s irrelevant where they are working at that time.’

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