CQC criticised over 'name and shame approach' to GPs

GP leaders have hit out at the CQC after a Cheshire GP became the first in England to be singled out in public by the watchdog over 'urgent improvement' needed at his practice.

CQC: name and shame approach criticised
CQC: name and shame approach criticised

The CQC issued a press release today naming a GP whose practice in Sale could face closure because it is failing to meet 13 quality and safety standards.

GP magazine has chosen not to name the GP, although his identity has been published by the watchdog.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘This type of name and shame approach will leave many practices extremely worried and will undermine their confidence in the CQC process.

‘This is completely different to naming a "failing" hospital as it is hugely personal and is not far from being put in the stocks in the market place. It could even drive some GPs to suicide and CQC should seriously think again about their approach.’

CQC regional director in the north of England, Malcolm Bower-Brown, said that when the practice in question was registered earlier this year, 'it was on condition that the provider addressed a number of shortfalls against the national standards of quality and safety'.

He added: 'We were told that these improvements would be in place by April this year. It is a matter of real concern that, following our inspection in June, the surgery was still not meeting 13 of these standards.'

The practice has been warned that it must improve. Mr Bower-Brown said: ‘We will return unannounced in the near future  to check that [the practice] has made the changes required and will not hesitate to take further regulatory action if required.’

A CQC spokesman confirmed that it would publicise other practices that ‘reach a certain bar for non compliance’. This includes when the CQC takes enforcement action and the publication of reviews of compliance reports.

Responding to criticism of the name and shame approach, the CQC spokesman added: ‘Under the Health and Social Care Act, CQC has a public duty to publish findings of its inspections, to inform patients of poor care or the potential for poor care.

'This is the same for all the providers that it regulates from a small dental practice or care home to a large acute hospital.

'The public has the right to expect safe, effective, compassionate, high quality care. The vast majority of GP practices do so but where they don’t the public has a right to know about it.  We hope that future inspections will be able to report improvements. In the meantime we will continue to work closely with the local CCG and NHS England to make sure people receive safe care.'

The GP whose practice has been singled out by the CQC said: 'Naturally, we are disappointed with the outcome of the recent CQC inspection of the practice and the conclusions of the report which have been published today.

'I became the sole partner at the practice 18 months ago, and since that time I have taken steps to update many of the practice administration and IT systems. We will continue to work hard to ensure the issues raised in the report are addressed and have established an action plan to ensure this is done as soon as possible. Our priority is safe patient care, and I would emphasise that the inspection made no criticism of the clinical care provided.

'I’m very happy to meet with any of our patients who have concerns as a result of the CQC report, to discuss those concerns and the plan for meeting the targets set for us.'

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