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13th June 2014

More Haste, Less Speed?

medical doctor with clipboard, isolated on white backgroundDuplication of visits and untrained inspection teams

So, you’ve put in hours of work, prepped as much as you possibly can, assured your staff that this is meant to be a supportive process and planned to expect the unexpected. Then you discover that the CQC team coming to visit your Practice has a team of inexperienced inspectors. This is on top of the claims that many Practices will face an extra CQC inspection before 2016 because they will not receive the 42 point ratings being introduced by the new system.

Practices being evaluated under the pilot are the first to undergo the new inspection regime, which includes a GP on every inspection team. However, the CQC is struggling to recruit enough GPs to attend every inspection, and those who are part of the visiting team have often have little or no formal training. It seems to me that, even with the last 2 to 3 years planning, and learning from the Dentist CQC registration and inspections, the CQC is still not fully prepared to satisfactorily review GP Practices and are rushing to put inadequate systems in place, causing unnecessary duplication and a significant lack of confidence in the organisation.

Bureaucracy and invalid inspections

The bureaucracy of the duplication of inspections, and the significant time this will involve, seems extremely unfair on Practices, and very much the fault of the CQC. Considering the stringent process that Practices had to go through to register with the CQC over 14 months ago, it’s not surprising that many Practices are unhappy by the changes being made, and so soon.

Dr Tony Grewal, Medical Director for Londonwide LMC, and a GP in Hillingdon, recently told Pulse that it was ‘against natural justice’ that practices should be made to take part in invalid inspections. Dr Grewal said: ‘I think it’s absolutely grotesque because the pilots are there, not to see whether the GPs are fit, but whether the inspection is fit. As long as the pilot shows the inspection is fit, then the GP has been inspected. And it’s grotesque that they should have to repeat that’.

Unprepared and hurried

I mentioned in a previous blog early last month that CQC were looking to have a clinician sit in on GP consultations during the inspections. However, if the CQC are looking at how they would use locum GPs to fill in gaps at short notice, how can they instil confidence that those GPs are suitably trained and experienced to observe and comment on another clinician’s performance; surely that’s the role of GP trainers and Practitioner Performance teams? It would seem insulting to many Practices, particularly training Practices, that the CQC has confirmed that locum GPs who were being used to fill gaps in the inspections were not receiving any formal training, and were instead sent a training pack, information on the methodology and a phone call. More haste, less speed CQC!

*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

Alison Lowerson

GP Specialist

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