25th September 2018

Displaying your practice’s CQC rating – A reminder from the CQC (September 2018)

August’s CQC briefing reminds me of times when, working in general practice, there were days when I truly believed everything was under control … and then an email arrived reminding me there was an action looming – or worse – something that had fallen under my radar and was overdue!

So, while staring out to sea on holiday, on seeing the August 2018 CQC update headlines, that familiar feeling returned and prompted me to produce this article. I visit a number of different practices throughout and year and, to be honest, I can’t remember seeing CQC ratings displayed in a way that has attracted my attention either in a waiting room or while doing an online search of the practice.  Therefore, I hope this article will be of use.

Since April 2015, it has been a legal requirement for general practice providers to display their CQC ratings both on site in each and every premises where a regulated activity is being delivered by that provider and online. The display standard is that is must be where people are CERTAIN to see it.  The CQC provides resources in the form of an online toolkit to make this display requirement as quick and easy as possible for all providers of any technical or administrative capability to implement.

If the CQC assesses that a practice’s ratings are not displayed sufficiently conspicuously or legibly this can result in a fine and could affect future inspection ratings if adjustments are not made to rectify the situation. The CQC’s downloadable ratings display toolkit and online templates for hard copy and web-based ratings display all comply with the requirements set out in Regulation 20.  Using the CQC resources will remove the risk of any effort on your part in creating a ratings display on your own (without the help or guidance the CQC resources provide) falling below the required standard.

Once your CQC provider inspection report has been published on the CQC website, the ratings must be displayed on site and online for everyone to see – especially patients and other users.  In addition, providers are encouraged to actively raise awareness of their most recent CQC ratings via all standard methods of communication and practice publicity/information as a matter of course.

The CQC guidance describes how providers can successfully meet the Regulation.  To this end - and to remove any doubt in respect of compliance on inspection – you are more likely to avoid issues by demonstrating you have followed the ratings display guidance and used the toolkit.

Logically, any CQC inspection team faced with a “maverick” or “creative” approach to ratings display is more likely to scrutinise the product or output more closely in order to assess whether or not it meets the required standard as benchmarked by the easily available resources.

Where a provider has been rated as Outstanding – or Good – the CQC suggests celebrating that achievement by spreading the word as far and wide as possible with seemingly no limit to the length to which providers can go.  On reading this, it went much further than I would have imagined or ventured in practice.  In this age of constant challenges to general practice and increasing competition for income PR like this is priceless.

For providers rated as Inadequate or Requires Improvement, the CQC suggests setting out improvement plans and progress against these to keep patients and other users updated about the services they are receiving and how these are improving.

In summary:

It is a legal requirement to display your most recent CQC rating(s).

You must display the rating(s) at every premises where you provide regulated activities as well as online for everyone to see (without having to look too hard).

If your overall rating is Outstanding or Good, you are encouraged to shout loud about it – it’s free PR!

If you’re Inadequate or Requires Improvement, then let patients and service users know about your improvement plans and keep them up-to-date on the progress you’re making along with your rating display so the information cannot be missed.

And finally, the CQC provides you with everything you need to personalise for your practice or organisation so that you can simply, clearly and compliantly display your practice ratings.

*All information is correct at the time of publishing

Topics: GPs

Leah Biller

General Practice Specialist

Leah has an extensive background in all aspects of healthcare including practice management. She is seen as someone to depend on to take on a challenge and turn it around for the better. After a short time in working with the law she moved on to healthcare in 1985 after a routine appointment at her local GP had her walking out as practice manager. That started her on the general practice trail and then into acute, primary and community as well as health regeneration plus a Master’s in Primary Care from QMUL graduating in 2003 as the only non-clinician on the four-year course. Read more

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