Exclusive: CQC significantly behind GP practice rating deadline

The CQC has admitted it could miss its deadline for rating all GP practices in England by 30 September 2016 after falling significantly behind schedule.

The watchdog has released ratings for just over a quarter of GP practices in England, but is now more than halfway into the two-year period during which it hoped to issue a rating for every practice.

Over 2,000 GP practices in England have been visited, inspected and rated on a scale from outstanding to inadequate by the CQC to date.

But with the CQC 13 months into its 24-month schedule for rating all GP practices by 30 September 2016, its chief executive David Behan has admitted it is ‘currently behind on its trajectories’.

The watchdog has already once pushed back its original April 2016 target by an additional six months because of staff shortages.

In a recent report the CQC said it had only rated 59% of the practices it had intended to assess during this financial year, and it was now ‘putting actions in place’ to improve the situation.

Map: CQC GP ratings

The CQC would now have to inspect and rate around 130 practices every week to have a chance of reaching its target. It currently releases practice ratings in batches of around 30-50 a week.

Mr Behan said in a board meeting that there was now a ‘significant shortfall’ against targets for GP practices, as well as for adult social care and out-of-hours primary care services.

Of the 2,030 rated practices, 75 (4%) have been rated ‘outstanding’ and 1,617 ‘good’, bringing the total to 83% achieving one of the two top grades.

Some 248 (12%) were rated ‘requires improvement’, and the number initially found ‘inadequate’ has now eked ahead of the number found ‘outstanding’, with 90 (4%) given the bottom score.

CQC progress

A CQC spokeswoman told GPonline: ‘We’ve made tremendous progress, having inspected more than 2,000 practices and out-of-hours services at least once. The majority of these are "good" and "outstanding".

‘We are working hard to inspect and rate all practices by September 2016, and productivity continues to increase.  Recruitment has been a challenge, however, and David Behan flagged at our last board meeting that we are currently slightly behind schedule to meet the September target.

‘Although we have 10 months to recover the shortfall, we flagged this possible risk early in the interests of openness and transparency – and to reassure the public that we will never compromise on the quality of our recruitment, our inspections or our judgments.’

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