CQC ratings should reflect practice funding and 'context', warns BMA

The BMA has called on the CQC to take 'the context and resource in which services are delivered' into account when inspecting and rating practices.

Doctors' leaders called on the CQC to consider the funding and circumstances in which practices and other providers operate in a motion backed unanimously at the BMA's annual representative meeting (ARM) in Bournemouth on Tuesday.

Delegates called on the BMA to ‘challenge unrealistic standards’ set by the CQC, and demanded greater clarity on requirements for data collection ahead of inspections.

Analysis by GPonline has found that a range of external factors – many outside of practices’ control – correlate heavily with CQC ratings.

Having more GPs per 1,000 patients, receiving more funding, and being located outside of London are associated with higher ratings, findings reported by this website suggest.

Map: GP practices ratings across England

The CQC has previously told GPonline that it expects all practices to meet certain standards ‘irrespective of size or funding’.

But anaesthetist Dr Amir Landeck, proposing the motion, said: ‘We have nothing against the body that checks standards – but, for God’s sake, they have to be realistic.'

Some regulations enforced by the CQC were ‘bonkers’, he argued, citing examples of inspectors requesting curtain-cleaning schedules and evidence that blank prescription pads were kept under lock and key overnight.

BMA leaders urged delegates to support the motion, warning the bureaucracy imposed by the CQC 'takes away from patient care’.

The CQC is currently consulting on a proposed overhaul of its inspection regime that could see practices rated good or outstanding avoid annual visits from inspectors.

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