- Posted Wednesday May 22, 2019
I am sure that I’m not the only one who sometimes dreads a call or a letter from the CQC to say they are paying us a visit or, with the recent changes, planning a telephone inspection.
We can sometimes lose a little focus, as we are overloaded and yet we still have to get things done. Sometimes it’s good to take stock, reflect and pause to look at the facts around the situation.
The CQC experience
We know it is coming and we hear stories from other surgeries about their experiences, so when the call comes the butterflies in the stomach start to rise. That’s what happened to me this week, with our notification of our first telephone inspection.
I was taken through the format of the new process and we discussed the possible actions that will follow a phone inspection. The CQC base the conversation on the practice’s last inspection, any updated information from your CCG and NHS England, along with reviews on NHS Choices etc. All of these factors form a background for the telephone questions.
A group of questions are sent prior to the call and a date is arranged for the telephone call, which will last about an hour. The main questions may well lead to other conversations and we can have other staff members present as we see fit.
What happens after the call?
After the telephone inspection we will get a report from the CQC, and the next step is dependent on what that report says. If the current rating is still the same, then nothing will happen and next year either another telephone inspection or a formal visit will be arranged.
If for example the current rating is “Good “and it is felt it should be “Outstanding”, then a visit will be arranged within six months - a telephone inspection cannot alter the current rating. If the current rating is “Good” but it is felt that the rating should be “Requires Improvement”, then a visit will probably be arranged sooner rather than later.
A chance to showcase your practice
I will say the person I spoke to about the new inspection process was approachable and we had a wide-ranging discussion. It was emphasised that a telephone inspection allows practices to talk passionately about their practice and that the CQC feels it does give the inspectors a fair view of the practice.
Apart from the everyday running of our surgeries, we are all having to find more and more time to do other things to facilitate the changes the NHS wants. However, as practice managers we persevere because we feel the job is worth it.
We have already started preparing for the phone inspection at my practice and I will keep you updated as to our experience. How has the process so far been for you?
Has your practice had its first phone inspection, or are you preparing for one right now? Let us know in the comments section below. If you’re an FPM member, don’t forget you can head to our CQC Guidance Area for further insight into the CQC process.