Practices rated 'requires improvement' struggle most to improve

The CQC is exploring ways to provide more support to GP practices rated 'requires improvement', after it found that many providers struggle to improve enough to move up to good or outstanding.

Inspectors have identified a problem where services rated requires improvement are ‘struggling to improve their rating’ upon re-inspection, which typically occurs within a year after their first rating.

The watchdog’s concerns – raised in chief executive David Behan’s report to the CQC board, released this month – revealed it is now exploring how to make improvements for services in this group.

The report said: ‘We are now considering what more we need to do when a provider has been unable to improve from a "requires improvement" rating.

‘We also want to explore how we might recognise a provider that has made improvements but not yet managed to move from requires improvement to good or from good to outstanding.

‘We will include details on this in a consultation in March 2017, which will focus on how [we] propose to regulate adult social care and primary medical services in line with CQC’s new strategy.’

Map: GP CQC ratings across England

The paper also states that the CQC is ‘on track’ to meet its end-of-March deadline to inspect all GP practices, out-of-hours and adult social care providers, and adds it is ‘highly likely’ to complete this ahead of schedule in January.

The announcement suggests that any practice yet to have been visited by inspectors should expect an inspection within weeks.

A spokeswoman told GPonline that January ‘may well be when most physical inspections are completed’ in the first wave of its four-point rating system.

All practices will have been inspected and had their CQC report and rating published by 31 March, she added.

The watchdog has currently released ratings for over two thirds of GP practices, of which the majority have been rated good or outstanding (86%).

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