According to Pulse, CQC is having difficulties recruiting GPs to carry out inspections under the new inspection regime. GP inspectors are currently being sent on practice visits without receiving any formal training because the regulator is struggling to recruit enough GPs to attend every inspection.
CQC has apparently sent out emails to all GPs, informing them that they only need six months general practice experience before becoming an inspector.
Minutes of CQC’s board meeting from May 2014 also revealed that practices have had their inspections delayed because of the difficulties.
The minutes stated that: “In the early inspections there has been some difficulty in identifying a GP for every inspection. When this occurred the inspection date has been rearranged for when a GP is able to join the team, ensuring that the methodology is not compromised. We are also looking at how we would use locum GPs to fill in gaps at short notice.’
A CQC spokesperson said: “When we have used locums they are provided with information on the methodology, a training pack and in advance of the visit there is telephone contact with the inspection manager.”
CQC’s chief inspector Professor Field told Pulse that he was “not keen” on using locums for inspections, and that they hoped to have a bank of trained GPs in time for the full inspection launch in October.
He said: “Because we are only looking at a few CCGs at the moment some of the trained GP live a distance away from the practices that we need to inspect, which means despite the fact that we have enough GPs there have been a few occasion that at short notice we have had few gaps. Personally I am not very keen on using locums in future because we will have enough GPs on our bank available for use, also when we go live in in October we will have inspections across England and GP inspectors won’t have to travel far. We have only used a tiny number of locums and then only when we have needed to, we are evaluating this approach for future use and if the evaluation finds problems then it won’t be an approach that we will use in the future.”