From October this year, every CQC inspection team will include a GP.
GP magazine reported earlier this year that the CQC was prepared to accept applications from GPs who had retired up to five years ago. But according to a GP survey, 70% of 593 GPs who responded believe five years out of general practice is too long.
Respondents warned that GPs who retired that long ago would be unable to keep up to date with the ‘dynamic, ever-changing profession’.
Many called for the limit to be reduced to just two or three years.
GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the five-year window seemed ‘far too long’ and the CQC risked sending out GP inspectors who would be viewing the profession ‘from a perspective that no longer applies’.
He said: ‘It is vitally important that GP inspectors have enough awareness and understanding of general practice. I think it is hard to imagine that a GP who has retired and not been involved at all in general practice for five years would be aware of the current realities and constraints under which GPs operate.’
A CQC spokeswoman told GP: ‘We are keen to draw upon the wealth of experience and expertise that both practising and retired GPs can bring to the inspection process.
‘As part of our interview and selection process, applicants will need to demonstrate that they have up-to-date knowledge in current general practice procedures and issues.’
Retired GPs ‘may also have more availability’ than those currently practising, she added.
There are no plans to amend the five-year limit, but the CQC said this would be ‘under review as part of our ongoing evaluations’.
One in five GPs backed using GPs who retired five years ago as CQC inspectors. One said: ‘Having been out of practice for longer might bring the focus back to key matters – delivering good care, not policies, procedures and nit-picking.’
Retired GP Dr Nayana Patel told GP she welcomed the idea of employing recently retired GPs as inspectors.
‘I would like to be one of them,’ she said. ‘I still try to keep myself up-to-date, do modules online and would very much like to contribute to the well-being of primary care.’
The GP survey found 41% of GPs overall would consider training to be a CQC inspector.