Suspend CQC inspections to give GPs more time with patients, says petition

A senior London GP has launched a petition calling for CQC inspections on general practice to be suspended to give GPs more time to care for patients.

Tower Hamlets LMC chair and BMA London honorary secretary Dr Jackie Applebee, who launched the petition via the change.org website, warned that GP practices were under severe pressure and that the health service was underfunded and 'in meltdown'.

The petition reads: 'I want my patients to be able to get an appointment to see me without having to wait for days and I want enough time to spend with them to sort out their problems when they come.

'CQC inspections (a bit like Ofsted inspections in education) divert me and my colleagues from patient-facing care.'

Click here to read the petition

Dr Applebee's petition also criticises soaring fees the watchdog is imposing on general practice, after fees tripled in 2015/16 compared with the previous year and are set to rise again by 76% in 2016/17.

The petition echoes calls earlier this year by both the RCGP and BMA for a suspension of the CQC inspection regime. The RCGP called for an immediate suspension of CQC inspections in June, and the BMA backed a similar move after its annual representative meeting voted in favour of a motion calling the watchdog 'unfit for purpose' and a 'demonstrable failure'.

The government has rejected all calls for a pause in CQC inspections to date, however. A DH spokeswoman said today: 'We have no plans to stop CQC inspections in GP practices as they play a vital role in ensuring that patients get safe and quality care.

'This government has backed NHS England’s GP Forward View with £2.4bn, which will be used to expand the GP workforce and free up GPs from unnecessary red tape so that more time can be spent with patients.'

A CQC spokesman told GPonline: 'We have now undertaken more than three quarters of the GP inspection programme with the remainder to be completed by end of the financial year.

'We have a number of resources in place to support practices preparing for their inspection, including our online handbooks which set out in detail the areas we will look at on inspection. We do not ask practices for anything that they should not already have in place.'

GP leaders have warned that support for GP practices must be delivered faster.

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