GPonline reported earlier this month on a consultation that could see the seven-fold increase imposed over two or four years, as the watchdog moves towards recovering the full cost of its inspection regime from providers.
The overhaul could see fees for a GP practice with 5,000-10,000 registered patients that operates at one location rise from £725 to £4,839, the CQC has said. This could happen by 2017/18 or 2019/20.
Practice manager Nicola Hayward, who works across the Roseland Surgeries in Portscatho, St Mawes and Tregony, Cornwall, warns in the petition: 'The 567% increase in fees payable to the CQC for primary care registration will financially cripple many primary care providers and will negatively impact upon service provision. Practices could find themselves in a position where they are closing branch surgeries in order to move down a bracket in the fee structure.'
In a blog for the Practice Index website, she suggested that if every practice in the country simply refused to pay, 'they couldn't close us all down now could they?'.
The DH has made clear it is not the government's intention for GP practices to bear the brunt of the increased fees and has pledged £15m in additional funding to help cover the costs for practices.