Practices from 70 CCGs targeted in first wave of CQC inspections

Practices from 70 CCGs across England could face imminent CQC inspections as the regulator's revamped inspection scheme is rolled out across England from 1 October.

Professor Steve Field: CQC inspections underway (Photo: JH Lancy)

The first practices inspected under the new scheme, launched across England on Wednesday, can expect ratings to be published late November to early December, the CQC has said.

Inspections will focus on groups of practices within CCG areas. The CQC has released a list of 70 CCGs across England which will be eligible for the first wave of inspections.

The watchdog said it was confident that all 8,000 GP practices in England will receive a rating by April 2016, despite concerns from leading GPs that the 18-month deadline was ‘ambitious’ and could put the fairness of inspections at risk.

Ofsted-style rating system

The overhauled regime includes GPs on inspection teams for the first time, introduces a four-point rating system and could see ‘inadequate’ practices being put under Ofsted-style special measures or facing closure.

During pilots for the new system, the CQC inspected 348 practices over three months. Although the majority were providing ‘high quality care’, chief inspector Professor Steve Field has recently said around 2% were found to be providing 'dangerous care', suggesting around 200 practices could face closure.

GP reported in August that the CQC had 326 GP inspectors on board, one of which will be present at every inspection. This figure was just under half of the watchdog’s ‘ideal’ target of 700.

GP inspectors' role

The CQC did not reveal how many more inspectors it had hired during the interim two months, but a spokeswoman said there had been ‘a lot of interest’ from GPs to join inspection teams, and the CQC was ‘confident that we have enough GPs available to take part’.

The CQC spokeswoman said: ‘Everyone should be able to receive good quality care from their GP practice, whoever they are and wherever they live in England.

‘Our new style inspections will help to celebrate and promote good practice and ensure that GP practices in need of further support are identified so that they are better able to meet the needs of their local communities.’

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