Video: CQC inspection regime damaging patient care, says BMA

The 'threatening' CQC inspection regime is damaging patient care, GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul has told GPonline as GP leaders prepare to vote at Saturday's special LMCs conference on proposals for practices to withdraw from engaging with the watchdog.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul: critical of CQC inspection regime
Dr Chaand Nagpaul: critical of CQC inspection regime

In an exclusive video interview with GPonline the GPC chairman said LMCs had submitted more motions to the crisis conference on CQC than any other topic.

‘GPs are working in a climate of regulatory fear,' he said. ‘They feel suffocated by being scrutinised and they are being blamed for the failings of a system - a system that has defunded our ability to provide care for our patients. So they are angry, and rightly so.’

The conference motion to be proposed by City and East London LMCs will call on the GPC to ‘explore all options by which GP practices could lawfully withdraw from engaging with the Care Quality Commission (CQC)’. The motion calls for reimbursement of CQC fees and for the GPC to campaign for the CQC’s abolition.

Map: GP CQC ratings

Dr Nagpaul said the current regime was taking GPs and other clinical staff away from patients. ‘I would argue it's therefore actually damaging care for patients rather than improving it,' he said.

The GPC chairman called for a new, facilitative, targeted safety approach rather than the current ‘threatening, simplistic, judgmental’ regime which fails to address the root causes of practices’ difficulties.

His comments come just over a month after the GPC called for the resignation of CQC chief inspector of general practice Professor Steve Field after comments he made in the national press.

However, a CQC spokeswoman told GPonline it would continue to inspect practices to help improve services. 'Patients tell us they want to know care services are safe, effective and responsive,' she said.

GP quality

'While we find most care is good, there is a small minority of practices where care is inadequate and, in some cases, dangerous. Since we began inspecting under our new approach in 2014, we have found 107 practices to be providing inadequate care. This means around 500,000 patients in England have not been receiving the basic standards of care.

‘However, what’s enormously encouraging is that our inspections are driving improvement. Ninety percent of surgeries re-inspected have improved and this shows GPs are using our inspection reports to make positive changes to patient care. 

‘We know from our work real change and improvement comes from an open debate about what’s working well and what isn’t. That’s what the public expect from CQC and it’s what we will continue to do.’

An exclusive GPonline investigation published today reveals that three quarters of practices reinspected after receiving an initial low rating had improved.

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