• By RMT
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  • Posted Tuesday October 18, 2016

Managing the Costs of CQC Inspections

Inspections of GP practices by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have become an accepted part of the primary care life cycle but, as with anything else that features therein, there are operational and cost implications to be considered for both before and after inspections takes place.

At a basic level, the CQC has become far more interested recently in the financial viability of the practices that it is inspecting, with the rationale that you can only deliver good clinical services if the correct financial structures are in place to allow you to deliver them.

The CQC is, quite rightly, trying to ensure that no unexpected practice collapses occur that could leave a gaping hole in primary care provision in a particular area, so they will expect to see proof of the solidity of your business model.

If it's not already to hand, pulling this information together will naturally take staff time, and any preparations and improvements that you need to make to your premises in advance of an inspection may also have cost implications.

If this work is done over time it will have a lower cost to the practice both in terms of resources and actual cash. If there is proper planning in place, inspections will always run more smoothly and there won’t need to be hundreds of hours in overtime the weekend prior.

The costs that practices face for actually hosting a CQC inspection have also risen quite dramatically in the last year. The actual individual cost is worked out on a sliding scale, depending on the number of partners and patients that a practice has, but it's usually the smaller practices that end up paying a proportionately higher cost for the inspection to happen.

But amongst all this, what CQC inspections do a good job of providing is an opportunity for practice managers and partners to take a step back and review how the practice is operating, what's working well and what could be done better.

This should, of course, be a continuing process at all times, and should be conducted with the support of your professional advisors, but the imperative provided by the expectation of an inspection can add momentum and a sense of urgency.

Taking a full overview of how your operations are set up and the ways in which your business is set up to deliver them can result in improvements in both patient care and profitability, and when the pressure to do both these things is as high as it is today, it makes sense to be working towards achieving these outcomes in any way you can.

Specialist medical accountants at RMT offer medical professionals advice and guidance that is tailored to the unique monetary and legislative environment in which healthcare industry workers live. For more information visit their website.

 


Comments

Simon Harker 21/10/2016

Thanks for your comment Robin. What we were looking to get across here the importance of the business model of the practice, which is in reference to the Well-Led criteria of the CQC's inspection regime, and I've clarified the article to make that clearer.

Robin Noel 19/10/2016

As a GP Surgery having recently had our second CQC inspection in 4 years, there was no mention of the CQC inspection team requiring to see 'up to date' financial reports. Is this becoming another requirement to be included in future inspections? If so, what are the legal rights of the CQC to gain access to confidential financial information from essentially private partnerships who are contracted by the NHS to deliver Primary Care Services?


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