GPs face legal duty to display CQC rating from April

GP practices could soon be forced by law to display 'prominently' their CQC rating, as proposals were 'positively received' in parliament on Wednesday, despite prior warnings from the BMA.

Waiting room: practices could be forced to display CQC rating (photo: JH Lancy)
Waiting room: practices could be forced to display CQC rating (photo: JH Lancy)

Outwardly displaying to patients whether your practice is officially ‘outstanding’, ‘good’, ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ looks set to become a legal requirement from 1 April this year, subject to final parliamentary approval.

The proposed laws state ratings must made be ‘clearly visible’ in practice waiting rooms or receptions, and must also be published on the practice’s website.

A GP survey found that 42% of GPs opposed the DH’s plans to implement the measures, while 39% agreed with the proposals.

But the BMA has previously warned that it had ‘serious concerns’ about practices being forced to publicly display ratings.

Ratings too 'simplistic'

BMA head of policy and economic research Raj Jethwa said that ratings could cause ‘unnecessary anxiety’ to patients and damage staff morale. The simplistic ratings could also easily conceal areas of the practice’s care that are particularly good or bad, he added.

The CQC has issued draft guidance directing practices and other providers on how to display their rating in accordance with the legal requirements.

CQC chief executive David Behan said: ‘Following an inspection we publish our report and rating on our website. In the future there is a new requirement for all providers to display their rating. This will provide even greater transparency in helping people to make more informed choices about their care, either for themselves or their loved ones.’

Some 2% of practices have had their CQC ratings published so far, with the vast majority being awarded one of the top two grades. Just five have been found to provide ‘inadequate care’.

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