Practices need more chances to challenge CQC reports, says GP

Practices should have more opportunities to challenge the content of CQC inspection reports on their services, a GPC member has warned.

Dr Paul Cundy: challenging CQC process (Photo Pete Hill)

The CQC, which currently allows practices just one chance to challenge their inspection report, should allow for greater feedback from practices, according to GPC IT subcommittee chairman Dr Paul Cundy.

The comments from Dr Cundy, whose practice took part in pilots to evaluate the revamped CQC inspection regime, came in an open letter addressed to CQC chief inspector of primary care Professor Steve Field and senior national GP advisor Professor Nigel Sparrow.

His letter is intended as a ‘constructive critique’ of how the CQC handled inspecting his practice, Dr Cundy said.

It follows a previous letter he sent to the watchdog in September, challenging 41 points within the 31-page report on his practice.

Report redrafted

The CQC has since amended the report to address the issues he flagged, but it published this redrafted report as a finalised version, barring any further challenges or objections from Dr Cundy’s practice.

Although ‘the majority’ of the factual challenges were rectified in the redrafted version, Dr Cundy criticised the regulator for immediately and 'unreasonably' finalising the report.

In the letter, he writes: ‘I am obviously very pleased that the vast majority of the factual challenges we raised have been corrected.

‘However it is clear that you regard the process of drafting our report as having finished, hence publishing the redrafted finalised report.

‘In any system where one side comments on draft observations submitted by the other it is probably unreasonable to assume that the process will always be completed in just one cycle. I would suggest you need an option for further iterations.’

Make process fairer

More cycles should be allowed for a range of reasons to make the process fairer, he said. Doing so would give practices the chance to provide further evidence should the CQC initially refuse to accept evidence to support factual inaccuracies in its report.

Redrafting also introduces new elements into a report which may be inaccurate, and practices should be given the opportunity to challenge the accuracy of these.

An accepted factual accuracy challenge could have consequential impacts on other parts of the report, and practices should be able to raise challenges if this means they are now wrong, he added.

A CQC spokeswoman said: ‘We followed process in producing this inspection report and are in talks with Dr Paul Cundy about his feedback. All providers have an opportunity to give their views on the factual accuracy of reports before they are published.’

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