CQC fees 'could be based on list size'

Care Quality Commission (CQC) registration fees for GP practices could be based on list size, a senior official at the watchdog has said.

Premises: GPs will not face one fee per location (Photograph: G Franklin)

All GP practices will register with the CQC by April 2013 after workload fears led to the date being pushed back by a year. Primary care out-of-hours providers are still expected to register from April 2012.

Speaking to GP, CQC design team lead for GP registration Victoria Howes added that fears that practices in older premises would be unable to register were likely to prove unfounded.

Ms Howes said that although registration fees for out-of-hours providers are set per location, GP practices may not pay in the same way.

'It could be based on list size or could be by partners ... it might not be by location,' Ms Howes said. She said that GP practices would not have to pay an additional registration fee for branch practices.

But the system adopted will take into account the overall size of the contractor, with larger companies operating over multiple sites likely to pay more. 'The registration fee is how we fund our regulation activity. It seems fair you would have to pay more,' Ms Howes said.

Ms Howes said that practices with older premises which fear they will not meet compliance standards can still register as 'non-compliant'.

These practices must assure the CQC that they have identified risks associated with this, and have taken reasonable steps to manage them, she said.

But she added: 'We don't envisage premises being a big barrier to registration.'

GPs should not fear unreasonable demands from inspectors, she said. 'We wouldn't expect GP practices to be taking up carpets or taking out soft furnishing,' Ms Howes said.

She said inspectors would have extensive training to prepare them for visiting GP practices. Most data they ask for would be information practices have readily available, she said.

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