Whether you run an NHS or private practice, the requirement for GP practices to register with the Care Quality Commission has added an additional layer of complexity to running a successful practice. Balancing and juggling competing demands whilst maintaining high quality patient care can be tough.
The CQC has extensive enforcement powers which, if exercised, can have a major impact on a GP Practice’s registration. These powers can be taken on notice or, if urgent, on an emergency basis.
CQC can serve a:
Notice of Proposal (NOP) to:
- Cancel your registration
- Suspend your registration
- Vary your registration by removing a location (and effectively cancel its registration)
- Vary your registration to stop you from doing something, such as not accepting new patients
- Vary your registration to make you do something, such as provide action plans to the CQC
Ridouts can help you to draft representations to the NOP setting out why the proposed action should not be taken.
Notice of Decision (NOD) to:
- Cancel, Suspend, or Vary your registration which confirms a Notice of Proposal already issued.
- Suspend or Vary your registration on an urgent basis under section 31 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008. This means the decision takes effect immediately, and GP Practices should comply or face committing a criminal offence. Such action can result in services having to cease immediately.
Ridouts can help you to appeal the Notice of Decision to the First-Tier (Care Standards) Tribunal.
Magistrates’ Court Order:
- Cancelling a GP practice’s registration on an urgent basis, which takes effect as soon as the order is made.
Ridouts can help you to appeal the order to the First-Tier (Care Standards) Tribunal.
Such action can be highly damaging, reputations can be damaged, GP Practices can be prosecuted for failing to comply with conditions of registration and businesses can be lost.
Ridouts can work with you to build a robust response to these types of action.
Letter of Intent
The CQC may issue a Letter of Intent to a GP Practice. These are used as a pre-cursor to the above types of action. These letters ask the providers to respond within a short timeframe (often 24 hours or less) to assure the CQC that suitable action is being taken to mitigate perceived risk.
Ridouts can help you by:
- Assisting with responses to Letters of Intent to provide reassurance to the CQC that enforcement action is not required;
- Advising on the strength of the case contained within Notices of Proposals (“NOPs”) and Notices of Decision (“NODs”);
- Drafting comprehensive responses to NOPs and NODs and identifying supportive evidence;
- Appealing NODs to the Tribunal; including drafting witness statements, attending case management hearings and preparing bundles for disclosure;
- Representing GP Practices at emergency closure hearings in the Magistrates’ Court.