GPs face prosecution threat over NICE

New regulator warns legal action will be used as a last resort for ignoring NICE guidance.

'Draconian' legal powers to prosecute GPs who do not follow NICE guidelines, or fail other measures of care quality, will be a last resort, according to the head of the new health and social care regulator.

From April 2010, all healthcare providers in England will need to be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), of which Baroness Barbara Young is chair.

To be registered with the commission, providers must give care which meets certain standards, including taking account of NICE guidelines.

Speaking at the NICE annual conference in Manchester last week, Baroness Young said that the Bill establishing the commission gave it 'some quite draconian powers'.

'In theory, every healthcare provider is going to have to be registered and if they don't meet the registration criteria we can withdraw their registration, we can suspend their registration, we can put conditions on it, we can fine them, we can prosecute them, we can do all sorts of things,' she said.

'The reality is, I don't think we are going to be marching into an inadequate provider and shutting it down instantly.'

Baroness Young said that there would be discussions with failing providers as to where problems lay.

In addition, increased transparency would make it easier to see which providers were not providing good-quality services.

After the conference GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said that, although the CQC had considerable powers, for most practices it would be no threat.

'It is incredibly unlikely that GPs will face prosecution,' he said.

Practices facing difficulties would be helped to overcome problems, he said.

Dr Buckman also believes the CQC will have a number of advantages over the Healthcare Commission, from which it will take over regulatory duties, including greater independence.

The new body will also be keen to avoid duplication of effort, particularly in terms of visits, and so would not be visiting every healthcare provider, he said.

tom.moberly@haymarket.com

Comment below and tell us what you think

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Shielded patients and care home residents to receive free vitamin D

Shielded patients and care home residents to receive free vitamin D

Patients on the shielding list and care homes are to be provided with free vitamin...

LMCs demand renegotiation of COVID-19 enhanced service deal

LMCs demand renegotiation of COVID-19 enhanced service deal

LMCs have called for a renegotiation of funding for the COVID-19 vaccination enhanced...

LMCs demand ballot of profession on PCN DES ahead of next contract talks

LMCs demand ballot of profession on PCN DES ahead of next contract talks

LMCs have demanded a ballot of GPs on the primary care network (PCN) DES before BMA...

Lack of support left locums at physical and financial risk in pandemic, say LMCs

Lack of support left locums at physical and financial risk in pandemic, say LMCs

Locum GPs have faced significant physical and financial risk because of a lack of...

LMCs demand NHS England apology over ‘abhorrent' claims about general practice

LMCs demand NHS England apology over ‘abhorrent' claims about general practice

LMCs have called on NHS England to apologise for ‘abhorrent and insulting’ suggestions...

CCGs to be stripped of commissioning role under reforms backed by NHS England

CCGs to be stripped of commissioning role under reforms backed by NHS England

CCGs could be stripped of their commissioning role under plans set out by NHS England,...