CQC targets retired GPs as inspectors

The CQC is targeting recently retired GPs in its drive to recruit the expert inspectors it needs to implement a revamped primary care inspection regime.

Professor Field: inspectors needed
Professor Field: inspectors needed

CQC chief inspector of general practice Professor Steve Field said the watchdog needed to hire GPs across the UK as inspectors.

The search would include GPs who had retired within the past five years, he told GP.

The CQC has begun trials of an updated inspection system that will take effect fully from October, after Professor Field pledged last year that all inspection teams would include a GP.

‘We’re going to need a whole lot more [GP inspectors] from October onwards,’ he said. ‘So we are looking for GPs on the performers list who are in practice, but also some who have recently retired.

‘We want to keep it to five years out so they can still understand what it’s like in general practice.’

He stressed that the CQC would welcome applications from all types of GPs and inspectors would
not be expected to have an academic background.

The first year of CQC inspections were heavily criticised because of a lack of clinical input, with many GPs claiming inspectors were not qualified to assess general practice.

'A GP is key'

Former RCGP chairman Professor Field emphasised that GP inspectors would play a crucial part in addressing these concerns, although precisely how the role will work is yet to be decided.

‘We’re looking at how we deploy GPs and how we can make it a really interesting role,’ he said. ‘A GP is key, because they understand the context of how the practice is working in the area. They’ll be more aware of issues about premises, better able to look at clinical audits and sharing concerns with GPs.

‘But, most importantly, they’ll also be better at understanding what "good" and "outstanding" is, so we can celebrate good care.’

GP inspectors will be expected to visit nearby practices, but not those in their own CCG or associated with any GPs they have a connection with. Successful candidates will receive training sessions run in partnership with senior RCGP examiners.

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