GPs face 'scandalous' 76% hike in CQC fees from 2017

CQC fees could rise by £2,000 for a GP practice of average size from 2017 under proposals from the watchdog to increase charges levied from GPs sharply for the second year running.

Figures released by the GPC show that an average-sized GP practice with between 5,001 and 10,000 patients could see CQC fees rise from £2,574 in 2016/17 to £4,526 in 2017/18 - a 76% increase.

GP leaders have condemned the proposed increase in fees for practices as 'scandalous', and said plans to drive up fees at a time when the CQC has pledged to scale back inspections on practices was 'inexplicable'.

The proposed rise comes just a year after the CQC tripled the annual fee it charges GP practices as part of a bid to reduce its reliance on central government funding and move towards recovering a greater proportion of costs from providers.

Map: find out GP CQC ratings in your area

Fees for practices of all sizes are set to rise by a similar proportion in 2017/18 under proposals set out today in a CQC consultation.

GPC lead on CQC issues Dr Mark Sanford-Wood said: 'This is a scandalous proposed increase in fees that could see GP practices being charged an extortionate 76% rise in their CQC costs.

'While NHS England has promised to reimburse GP practices for the increase in fees, it nevertheless will divert overstretched NHS funds from other budgets from frontline patient services to maintain a system of regulation and inspection in which the majority of GPs have little confidence. A recent BMA survey found that nine out of 10 GPs felt the current inspection scheme was flawed and bureaucratic, with the vast majority reporting that it diverts GPs, nurses and other staff away from treating patients.

'The CQC is planning to significantly reduce the scale of its GP inspections which should lower the cost of regulation. This makes the proposal to increase its fees inexplicable and wholly unjustified. These increases need to be halted so that precious NHS resources are spent on providing care to patients and not feeding the bureaucracy of the current regulation and inspection programme.'

GP inspections

CQC chief executive David Behan said: 'We regulate over 30,000 health and adult social care providers and we set clear expectations of what good care looks like and when improvements need to be made.

'Protecting the public in this way has a financial cost. The fees paid by providers enable us to fulfil our purpose of making sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care.

'The consultation proposals we have published today follow the plans we set out last year to continue to meet the Treasury’s requirement to recover our chargeable costs in full from providers.'

Consultation on CQC proposals to increase fees will run until 11 January 2017.

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