Flawed CQC risk ratings must be scrapped, says GPC

GP leaders have demanded the withdrawal of the CQC's controversial risk rating system after 60 practices publicly labelled 'high risk' were downgraded to lower risk categories in a dramatic U-turn by the watchdog.

GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul: withdraw CQC risk scores (Photo: JH Lancy)

The CQC's decision to publish data placing every practice in England in one of six risk categories before it has inspected them has left GPs furious.

Just three weeks after publishing the data, which led to one in six practices in the country being labelled as 'failing' by national media and triggered hundreds of negative local media stories, the CQC announced it has dropped a series of indicators.

Poll: should the CQC's chief inspector of GPs resign?

A total of 60 practices previously labelled high risk have now been moved into lower risk bands, while seven previously in lower risk groups have been moved into higher risk categories.

GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the flawed ratings system was doing 'serious harm' to practices' reputation.

'Today’s admission by the CQC that they are having to recalculate all of their pre-inspection data highlights the concerns that the BMA raised that this risk rating system is not fit for purpose. We now know that due to errors in the CQC’s methodology 60 practices have been unfairly branded as being at risk, potentially doing serious harm to their reputation.

'The chopping and changing of target indicators which has resulted in a different risk banding being allocated to GP practices demonstrates the problems of using limited skewed data, rather than adopting a transparent approach. The CQC has also reiterated that these bandings are not a reflection of the quality of care a practice provides, a fact that means the inspection regime could even in its revised state mislead the public. The banding system as a whole needs to be withdrawn.

Serious harm to GPs' reputation

'We warned at the time that simplistic targets would fail to take into account the enormous pressures GP practices are facing, and that skewed and limited information does not tell us about the quality of care.

'These failings have the potential to seriously undermine the trust in the system and patients’ confidence in their GP and it is only right that all of those practices affected are now contacted and receive a full apology.'

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