CQC fees for GPs to rise from April

CQC registration fees for GP practices are set to rise 2.5% in 2014/15, but could double in the coming years as the regulator seeks to recover its operating costs in full from the profession.

CQC: GP registration fees could rise
CQC: GP registration fees could rise

Registration for 2013/14, worth up to £850 a practice, recouped only half of the amount the CQC estimated it would cost to regulate primary care.

The regulator has launched a consultation on hiking the fees by 2.5% next year and confirmed plans to raise fees further in future to recover the full cost of regulating general practice from GPs.

This month the CQC's first chief inspector of primary care, Professor Steve Field, began his post on a salary of up to £175,000.

Professor Field said that his inspection teams with be ‘loaded with GPs’, with inspection pilots beginning in December.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said any registration fee rise was unacceptable.

‘There is no justification for a rise when general practice is facing unfunded rising expenses that are leading to resource cuts,' he said.

‘GPs will be angry but not surprised that yet again they are expected to foot an even bigger bill to pay for being regulated and at the same time have to cope with the extra workload that regulation brings.

‘The threatening comments GPs will have heard about CQC's approach to GP inspections, and the uncritical support CQC have offered to political pronouncements about things such as opening 8-8 seven days a week, a policy which could undermine the quality of care if current services are spread more thinly, will not fill GPs with confidence that CQC independence will make any material difference.’

The CQC will be given statutory independence ‘so ministers can never again lean on it to suppress bad news’, health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced this week at the Conservative party conference in Manchester.

The new powers would mean that the CQC would no longer have to receive the health secretary’s approval to carry out an investigation into a hospital or care home. It will also remove the health secretary’s power to direct the CQC on the content of its annual report.

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