LMC delegates at the 2018 England LMC voted unanimously for a 14-day notice period ahead of CQC inspections, with a majority also calling for a minimum of five years between visits for practices rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’, unless serious safety concerns are raised.
The call comes just one month after the watchdog’s annual report revealed that an overwhelming 91% of GP practices were rated 'good' by the CQC in 2018, with a further 5% rated 'outstanding'.
Proposing the motion, Wakefield LMC’s Dr Carolyn Hall told the conference that the CQC should give practices ‘at least two weeks’ to prepare for investigations, adding that this would ‘reduce stress and workload on practices’. She added that a longer notice period would also be ‘better for patient care’, and questioned: ‘If [over] 90% of practices are good or outstanding, then why are such frequent inspections needed?’
Although CQC guidance states that the regulator currently does ‘usually give two weeks’ notice to individual GP practices’, Dr Hall said she knew of practices given just 10 days' advance notice.
Practices rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ are also currently inspected ‘at least once’ every five years, CQC guidance states.
Delegates also backed calls to remove the requirement for DBS checks for every change in practice registration status and called for the CQC to instead accept GPs’ inclusion on the national performers’ list as adequate proof.