Exclusive: Practices 'should voice record' CQC inspections, warns top GP

GPs 'should voice record' their CQC inspections to back up any complaints they have about the process, a GPC member has warned.

Dr Paul Cundy: record CQC visits (Photo: Pete Hill)
Dr Paul Cundy: record CQC visits (Photo: Pete Hill)

GPC IT subcommittee chairman Dr Paul Cundy has recommended that GPs ‘voice record all of their interviews with the CQC’, after claiming that a formal complaint he made about his practice’s inspection was not upheld.

The CQC threw out the complaint because the inspection team ‘recalled events differently’ to the practice's version of events, Dr Cundy said.

Dr Cundy said there was ‘no point at all’ to the CQC’s complaints process if it simply came down to ‘our word against theirs’.

Speaking to GPOnline, he said: ‘I don’t have any confidence in the CQC or their inspection process. And that’s not on the basis that I don’t like one report – we've now been through a sustained process of two inspection visits, copious correspondence arising from those inspection visits, factual challenges to the draft reports, two open letters to the CQC and now a failed investigation of a complaint.

‘So this is not one episode. We don’t have any confidence in this organisation.’

Three complaints

Dr Cundy’s practice was inspected once during the CQC’s trial period of its overhauled regime and again after the programme was officially launched.

The complaint relates to three aspects across these inspections, on the basis that they were ‘wrong, inappropriate or had been ignored’.

‘We complained about three things,’ he said. ‘One, where we were told something that was categorically wrong; two, we informed them about something which was ignored; and three, repeated expression of personal opinion [from inspectors].’

Dr Cundy contends that the GP inspector repeatedly directly compared Dr Cundy’s practice to his own throughout the inspection, that inspectors demanded to see documents that were not required, and that they ignored evidence provided by the practice.

But he said the inspectors in question 'claim they don’t recall being told’ about the errors and ‘their recollection is different to ours’ for the other aspects of the inspection.

'Our word against theirs'

‘It’s our word against theirs,’ he said, ‘and in those circumstances, it seems to me that the only possible option is to record everything.’

Recording inspections would also be in the CQC’s best interests, he added. ‘I think it would benefit both parties. Because we are as susceptible to misrecollecting things as they are.

‘Also, to be fair to [inspectors], they spend eight or nine hours in a practice talking to lots of different members of staff, I don’t think it’s reasonable for them to remember everything that was said.’

He said the CQC had now offered a ‘level 2’ complaint after he found the level 1 complaints process to be ‘unsatisfactory’, which his practice was pursuing.

The call to record inspections could see GPs make use of technology which is often used by patients to covertly record consultations.

The CQC did not respond to requests for comment from GPOnline by the time of publication.

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