Watchdog to use 'enhanced enforcement powers' to inspect practices

The new Care Quality Commission will use 'enhanced enforcement powers' to inspect and regulate GP practices, under new proposals.

It means GPs will face additional inspection and monitoring by three different bodies by 2010.

According to its latest report, the Healthcare Commission has developed ways to analyse variations in GP performance, based on key outcomes for diabetes and CHD. 

Taking into account the number of partners, local demographics and deprivation indexes, it will be ‘useful in highlighting atypical performance', says the watchdog's latest proposals.

The Healthcare Commission is due to become the Care Quality Commission next year. The new watchdog will extend its current regulation of trusts and hospitals to undertake local inspections of both private and public primary care providers. 

GPs also face annual revalidation of their licence to practice by the GMC, and Local Improvement Networks (LINKs) will have the power to enter premises and observe certain activities.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said that GPs would have to spend more time responding to regulators and less time on patient care.

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