CQC hands GP inspection role to patients and nurses

Practices face CQC inspections led by patients under the 'radical' new regime being implemented by Professor Steve Field.

Professor Steve Field: patients will take part in inspections
Professor Steve Field: patients will take part in inspections

The CQC chief inspector of general practice revealed his inspection teams, which begin work next April, will include patients, practice managers, nurses and GP registrars, as well as trained inspectors.

Outlining his work at the NHS Alliance annual conference, Professor Field said the inspection model would ensure GP practices had safe, effective care which is compassionate and responsive to patients' needs, and well led.

A new ratings system, approved by the CQC board last week, will score practices on care of elderly people, long-term conditions, vulnerable people, mental healthcare, health promotion and prevention.

Full details will emerge in a ‘signposting’ document to be published in the second week of December.

Professor Field said inspections would be based on his experience of training visits to GP practices as a postgraduate dean.

‘We hope there will be a nurse or practice manager on every visit. There will be a patient, trained to make judgments, from a variety of different backgrounds. And there will be a GP registrar,' he said.

Teams will make one-day visits to 4,000 English practices a year, and visit a different CCG area every six months on a two-year rolling basis. Individual practices will be visited once every two years, so long as they meet the standards; those which do not face repeat visits.

After six months in a CCG area, the inspection team will look at local health and social care ‘in a much more holistic way’, said Professor Field, using GP feedback to produce a themed review on problem areas.

Professor Field said he was looking to recruit ‘a lot of GPs to work with us’, including seven or eight national advisors and around 77 inspectors for each of the four NHS regions.

‘We are looking at a large organisation, based in regions, led by GPs with nursing support and inspector support, that makes sure we can drive up the standards in general practice.’

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