Practices should be re-inspected by the CQC after fixing problems, says GPC

GP practices should be allowed to request re-inspections from the CQC so they are not 'tarred' by inappropriate ratings because of 'temporary circumstances', the GPC has said.

Dr Nagpaul: 'We continue to feel very concerned with the whole league table approach to inspections.' Pic: JH Lancy
Dr Nagpaul: 'We continue to feel very concerned with the whole league table approach to inspections.' Pic: JH Lancy

GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said it was ‘unfair’ that practices could be left with misrepresentative ratings for up to several years between inspections, warning that CQC ratings treated them as ‘fossilised entities’.

Practices should be able to request a ‘swift’ re-inspection once they had rectified any problems, he said.

Many poorly-rated practices are the victims of ‘temporary circumstances’, such as staff vacancies and illness, which Dr Nagpaul said was largely responsible for them being rated lower than they deserved.

The CQC should also refrain from publishing their finalised inspection reports if the practice in question disputed their rating, ‘until that has been resolved’, he said.

A CQC spokeswoman said: 'When we re-inspect depends on what evidence we find at the time of the inspection and what their rating is.'

She added that 'every provider gets a letter about how they can appeal their rating'.

'Concern' over ratings

Dr Nagpaul told GPOnline: ‘We continue to feel very concerned with the whole league table approach to inspections, and we continue to oppose the whole ratings process.

'The GPC will continue to put pressure on the CQC to ‘revisit the wisdom of these reductionist and simplistic ratings’.

He added: ‘If a practice has been rated under circumstances which have since changed – and it can demonstrate that it has now resolved any issues raised – then it should be possible for them to be re-rated at a very early stage, so as not to be tarred with a rating that applies to temporary circumstances from the past.

‘We know that many practices are being inspected where, for instance, they have difficulties such as unfilled vacancies and they’re trying to run practices in very difficult circumstances – sometimes without adequate practice management staff.

‘It’s vital that we don’t rate a practice as a fossilised entity, when in fact some of these circumstances are resolved within defined periods of time.’

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