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Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water!
Under proposals put forth by the CQC, the `Essential Standards` for health care is probably going to be replaced by a new ‘expected standards’, though many of the current essential standards will be incorporated into the new publication. There has been a lot of discussion this week around the likely content, which might include - surgeries being ‘open at times to suit the needs of local patients’. However, CQC said it was highly unlikely to close practices that are not open at convenient times. In an article in Pulse, GP leaders are quoted as `saying’, it was not up to the CQC to police when surgeries are open and that the regulator should be working with GPs and not looking for ways to threaten practices.` It looks as though this is going to fuel the debate on out-of-hours care as well, but we have to be careful not to be carried away in such an emotive aspect of this news.
CQC has started this change with a consultation entitled `A New Start` in which it calls for ideas on what should be included in a new set of fundamental standards, the minimum standards that all providers of health and social care will be required to meet. The Commission will be using input from NICE as well as other related organisations. The new standards will be more closely related to basic Clinical Governance , by asking five basic questions. Is a service –
- Well led?
The report said: ‘Fundamental standards of care will set a clear bar, below which standards of care should not fall. These will focus on the very basics of care that matter to people and will be easily understood by all.` That sounds fine, however, it controversially goes on to say `There will be immediate, serious consequences for services where care falls below these levels, including possible prosecution.’
These changes are going to keep everyone on their toes, and we will all need to be vigilant in keeping up with legislation. Any fundamental changes like this can instil panic, but it will be an asset to have an organisation like QCS on board to help.
Dr. John Shapter - QCS Expert GP Contributor