One in 25 practices yet to register with the CQC

Almost 4% of GP practices in England are yet to begin registration with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and risk losing their contracts if they fail to do so by April 2013.

CQC: practices must register or lose their contracts
CQC: practices must register or lose their contracts

The CQC is consulting on registration fees and revealed earlier this year that practices could pay as much as £1,600 a year.

All practices in England were asked to set up online accounts with the CQC over the summer. The vast majority of practices did so, and over half have now applied for registration with the CQC by submitting their details. The rest of those who have come forward will submit their registration details by early December.

Around 4% of practices - more than 300 in total - have not responded to the CQC's letters asking them to activate their online account. However, according to the CQC the figure may not be an accurate representation of the actual number of practices yet to start their registration.

A CQC spokesman said: ‘One GP may have multiple PCT contracts. They might be on the border of three PCT areas, and hold contracts with each of those PCTs. On the system that would say there are three practices requiring registration, when in reality there is only one practice.’

The CQC spokesman said any practices that failed to register with the CQC by April 2013 would face legal prosecution for running an unlicensed practice.

GPC negotiator Dr Peter Holden said: 'One would be worried if these are genuine missed registrations.' Dr Holden said he thought it was possible that many were duplicated.

The CQC is currently holding a consultation on the annual fee it will charge GPs for registration. Under the CQC’s preferred model, practices with between 5,000 and 10,000 patients would pay £650 in 2013/14. This figure could increase, or even double, in subsequent years as the CQC aims to reclaim all of its costs through registration fees.

GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul warned that GPs could be hit twice by CQC costs. After the government revealed plans to retire organisational indicators from the QOF as part of wider changes to the GMS contract, Dr Nagpaul said that much of the work practices were required to do for CQC registration would no longer be funded.

‘It’s effectively a double whammy of CQC,’ Dr Nagpaul said.

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