CQC must rate 125 GP practices a week in race to hit 2017 target

CQC leaders have admitted it faces a 'challenging' six months as it aims to inspect and rate around 125 GP practices a week to meet its 31 March deadline for assessing all practices in England.

As of this month the CQC has just six months to rate all remaining GP practices to meet its 31 March deadline.

Almost 5,000 GP practices have received an official rating from CQC inspectors since the system was launched two years ago in October 2014.

With around 3,000 practices still awaiting their first CQC rating, the watchdog must inspect and rate around 500 practices a month - roughly 125 a week - to meet its target.

It has released ratings for an average of around 95 practices a week over the last five weeks, suggesting the pace of inspections will have to increase slightly to meet the target.

Map: Find GP CQC ratings in your area

The CQC said in a performance report released last week that hitting the GP target would be a ‘challenge’ and ‘is contingent on the deployment of bank inspectors’.

Ratings for other provider groups assessed by the CQC are scheduled to be complete ‘well before’ the end-of-March deadline.

The watchdog has already rated all hospital trusts, and is progressing to inspect independent sector healthcare providers. It expects to complete ratings for all adult social care providers by January.

The CQC has struggled to recruit sufficient numbers of inspectors in the past, which has contributed to them pushing back the GP deadline twice already.

Data from July suggests it has recruited 193 inspectors for primary medical services, when its target to reach full inspection capacity was 222.

CQC inspection

The CQC has a target to turnaround 75% of practice inspection reports within 50 working days of inspection – equivalent to 10 weeks. But the most recent performance report shows that in July it published 61% of reports within this timeframe. Reports took an average of 51 working days to publish.

Out of those rated so far, the top 4% of practices have been rated outstanding. The majority (81%) are rated good, one in nine requires improvement and 4% inadequate.

The CQC said: ‘CQC’s business plan for 2016/17 included a commitment to have completed the comprehensive inspection programme for adult social care, GP practices and out of hours services, trusts and independent hospitals, resulting in a full baseline of ratings of providers and locations in these sectors.

‘As the monthly inspection trajectories show, we are aiming to complete the comprehensive inspection baseline programme in all sectors well before the 31 March 2017 deadline, and continue to conduct responsive inspections and take enforcement action.’

It added: ‘Primary medical services have undertaken 5,249 programme inspections out of a plan of 7,633 or 69%. Meeting the inspection target prior to March 2016 will be challenging, and is contingent on the deployment of bank inspectors.’

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