GPs find that CQC inspections take time away from patient care

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

Research carried out by the BMA on almost 2,000 GP practices in England has revealed that CQC’s inspections divert considerable amounts of time away from caring for patients. This diversion occurs both on the lead up to and during the inspection and can amount to hundreds of staff hours diverted to preparation and can also involve considerable cost.

Other findings from the research by the BMA included:-

· a significant reduction in time available to care for patients

· the need to use staff overtime 70% of the time to prepare and engage with the inspection

· 75% of GP practices felt dissuaded from continuing within the profession as a result of the inspection

· only 1 in 10 thought CQC’s assessment of their practice was a fair reflection of the practice.

The City and East London Local Medical Committee have tabled a motion at tomorrow’s special LMC conference (the first for 10 years) which calls for an abolition of the CQC. Part of its manifesto is to remove GPs from within the remit of CQC’s regime and it seeks options on how GPs could withdraw from engaging with CQC.

The findings of the survey and the motion to abolish the CQC may resonate with those involved in the care sector. The regulator gives the impression that it is anything but a light touch regulator despite the rhetoric it gives out. If inspections of GPs result in this vast increase in the amount of staff hours around a practice surely it is not an accurate picture of the practice at any given time. It is arguably a practice ‘at its best’ which will not necessarily be the practice which members of the public engage with on a daily basis. We await the results of the motion put forward by the City and East London LMC to see if it gains any traction tomorrow.

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