Practices score highly in new accreditation scheme

Half of practices piloting an RCGP practice accreditation system that could be adopted by NHS regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) scored 90 per cent or above.

Nearly one in three (30 per cent) passed 100 per cent of the core criteria in the Primary Medical Care Provider Accreditation (PMCPA) pilot. The scheme to assess quality in non-clinical aspects of care was conducted over 15 weeks and involved 36 practices, of which 32 completed the pilot.

The scheme, led by the RCGP and the National Primary Care Research and Development Centre at the University of Manchester, has six areas of assessment (see box).

RCGP accreditation

The RCGP scheme covers six core areas

  • Health inequalities and health promotion
  • Provider management
  • Premises, records, equipment and medicines management
  • Provider teams
  • Learning organisation
  • Patient experience and involvement

Practices self-assessed and provided documentation on 30 core criteria. These could be reduced to 20 in a roll-out.

RCGP chairman Professor Steve Field said the PMCPA could be rolled out as a two- or three-year programme to satisfy the CQC standards.

He said that professionally led standards were preferable to those imposed on practices. 'Practices can use it as a developmental tool rather than something that the PCT imposes.

'It is about professionals taking control of the future. So, if practices are inspected, CQC won't have to go in and burrow around,' he said.

He added that the PMCPA standards were developed by a team that included the GPC.

Next month, the DoH is to publish 18 standards that, after consultation, will be adopted by the CQC. Professor Field said that any of those standards that were not covered by the PMCPA would be incorporated.

Results from the pilot showed that practice size did not affect achievement.

The pilot showed workload to be higher than expected, but practices blamed timing.

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