Practice upgraded to 'outstanding' after submitting new evidence to CQC

GP practices can have their CQC rating upgraded if they submit new evidence within six months of their rating being published, the watchdog has revealed, as a practice initially rated 'good' was upgraded to 'outstanding'.

A GP practice in Cornwall had its CQC rating upgraded to ‘outstanding’ just months after it was initially rated ‘good’, after evidence it was required by law to provide showed it had made improvements.

The Morrab Surgery, in Penzance, sent evidence to the CQC showing that it had rectified concerns found by inspectors about its recruitment procedures.

Although the CQC said this was not an exceptional case, this appears to be the first instance of a practice initially rated 'good' earning an upgraded rating by showing significant improvement within six months of its initial rating in one of the key domains monitored by the watchdog.

In a report published in September last year, Morrab Surgery was rated ‘good’ following an inspection in March, during which it was found to be ‘outstanding’ in the ‘caring’ and ‘responsive’ categories and ‘good’ for being ‘well-led’ and ‘effective’.

Map: CQC GP ratings

But the practice was deemed ‘requires improvement’ for ‘safety’, for ‘not consistently adhering to’ its policies and procedures for staff recruitment.

The CQC warned the practice was in breach of regulation 19 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 and imposed ‘a legal requirement’ for the practice to provide evidence of improvements.

In its report, the CQC wrote: ‘Importantly, the provider must: establish and operate effective recruitment procedures to ensure that information regarding pre-employment checks is kept.’

Morrab Surgery submitted new evidence two months after the report’s publication, which the CQC assessed remotely through a ‘desktop review’, without further inspection.

CQC inspection

It concluded from this that the practice had ‘improved safety systems and processes to reduce safety risks’, and since there had been ‘no other concerns about safety and staffing arrangements’ during the practice’s inspection, upgraded its ‘safety’ rating to ‘good’, and its overall rating to ‘outstanding’.

A CQC spokesman confirmed to GPonline that this was ‘not an exceptional case’, and other practices with similar reports could have their rating upgraded within a matter of months if they can provide evidence of improvements.

‘[This case] was completed as part of our policy and guidance for follow-up inspections where breaches of regulations have occurred,’ he said.

‘Where the overall rating is "good" with one domain requiring improvement as in this case, then a practice can be re-rated overall if a follow-up inspection of the domain requiring improvement is completed within six months of the report being published.

‘In this case two months had passed and was sufficient time for action to taken by the practice for the breach of regulation to be rectified.’

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