The GP Forward View confirms that GP practices can expect a ‘reduction in inspections from CQC’ from later this year, with the watchdog set to adopt a more tailored, risk-based approach.
The CQC will place a stronger emphasis on the use of intelligence and other information to direct inspections to where the risk is greatest, in contrast to the current blanket approach.
Practices rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ – around 85% of practices overall – will usually only be visited five years following their previous rating, confirming proposals previously reported by GPonline.
This arrangement will be subject to the practice providing the CQC, NHS England and their CCG with ‘transparent data’ in a collaborative approach to ensuring they remain up to standard.
The CQC will also look into more streamlined ways of inspecting practices working at scale in new care models, such as federations and super-partnerships.
The GP Forward View also said that GPs should be appropriately compensated for ‘any further fee increases’. The announcement comes as current GP fees are set to double from next year – after having already increased 3.5-fold this month.
But GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul warned the regulation overhaul did not go far enough, adding that the GPC would push for the regime to be further scaled back and for fees to be fully reimbursed.
In a letter to all GPs, Dr Nagpaul also welcomed commitments in the report to increase general practice spending by £2.4bn – which will bring overall funding to 10.4% of the overall NHS budget. But he warned that this must be raised to 11% to ensure the future sustainability of general practice.
To ensure that the pledges outlined in the report come to pass, he said that an Advisory Oversight group will be established – to be manned by the BMA, RCGP and patients. This will 'steer and drive' the implementation of the report.
The new approach to CQC inspection will take effect once all practices have been inspected, which the GP Forward View says will be ‘later this year’.
‘GPC has repeatedly called for the replacement of the content and pattern of CQC visits and ratings,’ GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said in his response to the GP Forward View.
‘While NHS England has responded to our concerns with a commitment to reduce the number of inspections once all practices have been inspected, for example with a maximum interval of five-yearly inspections for good/outstanding practices, we are clear that this does not go far enough.
‘We will continue to argue for a radical scaling down of the current regulatory system. NHS England has also committed to recompensing GP practices for any future increases in CQC fees; while this is positive, it does not meet GPC's call for CQC fees to be fully reimbursed.’
Photo: JH Lancy