GPs could face CQC fee of £1,600 a year

An average GP practice in England could have to pay £1,600 a year to register with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), proposals from the regulator reveal.

CQC consultation sets out three possible fee models
CQC consultation sets out three possible fee models

GP leaders hit out at the plans, warning that the cost should not be met by practices already facing cuts and soaring expenses.

The CQC published the plans in a consultation today to set its annual GP registration fee, which will come into force when practices register in April 2013.

Practices with 5,001-8,000 patients could pay £800 in the first year. But fees could increase by as much as 100% in subsequent years because the regulator is only seeking to recover half of its costs in the first year of registration.

Under the CQC’s preferred model, practices with a patient list between 5,000 and 10,000 would pay £650 in 2013/14, which would mean up to £1,300 from year two onwards.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said the fees were ‘unfair’ and warned they represented a further blow to practices at a time when GP expenses were ‘at a historical high’. He said: ‘Practices have pared everything down to the bone.’

The CQC consultation sets out three possible fee models. Option one is a fee that varies based on practices’ patient list size, irrespective of the number of locations they operate from.

Option two would see practices charged per location – branch practices would not count as separate locations if they are managed from a single location.

Option three, the CQC’s preferred model, would see practices operating from a single location charged a fee that varies based on their list size. Practices with multiple locations would pay a set fee that rises in line with the number of locations.

Dr Vautrey said the GPC would recommend to the independent Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body (DDRB) that CQC fees were covered by the government and not GPs: ‘This is a new cost to practices and the DDRB should take it into account.’

But a DH spokeswoman said: ‘It is an accepted principle that organisations that are regulated meet the cost of that regulation.’

The CQC consultation will close on 21 December. The regulator is expected to publish the results in March 2013.

CQC fees
Under the CQC’s preferred model, practices face the following fees in 2013/14, which could double in subsequent years:

  • Practices with one location: £550 to £850, depending on list size.
  • Practices with two locations: £1,200.
  • Practices with more locations will pay higher fees on a sliding scale, up to a maximum £15,000 a year for those with more than 40 locations.

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