One in 10 GP practices represent a 'significant risk' to patients, CQC says

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) estimates that 10% of all GP practices pose a 'significant risk' to patients and will require physical inspections, following GP registration in 2013.

Ms Bower: the online form was not ‘self certification’.
Ms Bower: the online form was not ‘self certification’.

Speaking at a House of Commons public accounts committee meeting, CQC director of operations Amanda Sherlock revealed the details of the commission work plans.

When asked by the committee what percentage of GPs the CQC expects to investigate for non-compliance following registration, she said: ‘We are anticipating there will be 10% that will significant risk of non-compliance.’

Asked by a member of the Committee ‘So 10% of GPs currently you think are a considerable risk to patients?', Ms Sherlock replied: ‘Yes’.

Ms Sherlock went on to confirm that the CQC planned to physically inspect all 10% of practices, which would equate to over 800 inspections in the first round of GP registration alone.

CQC chief executive Cynthia Bower said the figure was based on the pilot it had carried out registering GP practices.

Reacting to the revelations, committee chairwoman Margaret Hodge expressed concerns over the current format of GP registration.

She said: ‘The nature of the registration around GPs may not be qualitatively of a sufficient standard to give the public, and maybe to us as their representatives, assurance that you’re actually registering good quality GPs.’

She said that registration had been simplified, and that GPs would be required to complete an online application form to register.

‘We ask them for the partnership, the location, what location they will run out of, what services they will run… and then they declare whether there is any non compliance.’

Although GPs can define their own compliance, Ms Bower said the online form was not ‘self certification’.

Ms Bower said she was not concerned that GP practices who did not meet the regulator’s standards would declare themselves compliant to avoid an inspection.

She said: ‘We’ve piloted this activity and actually GPs are very open about declaring non-compliance if they think that’s there. We then have further debates with them, including going out and making inspections.

Ms Bower said that if a practice declared itself compliant the CQC would obtain practice information from sources, such as local primary care organisations or the GMC. If the CQC finds out that a practitioner has been investigated by the GMC, the CQC is likely to investigate the practice.

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