The Family Doctor Association has said that GP’s need one month’s notice prior to a CQC inspection.
GP practices in England must register with the CQC by 1 April 2013 and CQC will inspect the practice once every two years. CQC will also be able to make unannounced visits but the majority of GP surgeries will get 24 to 48 hours notice.
A spokesperson from the FDA said that CQC ‘forgets that general practice is not like the hospital or nursing home sectors that they regulate.’ She went on to say that ‘the Family Doctor Association demands that a minimum notice period of one month is given for routine inspections with the right to negotiate a date. The association fully accepts that inspections where there is a reasonable cause for concern should be possible without notice.’
Last week the CQC said that 5,430 GP practices have set up online accounts to start the registration process and said that between 200 and 300 GP’s were setting up online accounts every day. Registration is due to take place in four one-month periods from September to December and practices can choose the period in which they wish to submit the data required for registration.
The CQC has previously said that unannounced visits would only be used when the CQC has been alerted to a potential problem with a practice.
A spokesperson for the CQC said ‘the length of notice given to GP practices is an area that the Care Quality Commission is testing as part of its inspection pilot. Most other services registered with CQC receive no notice period when we carry out an inspection. To ensure our inspections do not impact on patient care during inspections a variety of notice periods are being tested, from no notice up to a 10 day notice period. The Family Doctors Association are represented on our advisory group for GP registration where their views where fed into what should be tested as part of the inspection pilot. This includes what notice period we should test.’