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CQC Inspection Visits Roadmap for GP Practices

Recent Secret Diary blogs spoke about how GP Practices were getting ready for the restarting of CQC Inspections and what they should expect from the Inspectors. Gerry Devine, Thornfields’ Training Delivery Manager, has been looking at what challenges will be facing Practices in their next inspection.

As we all progress along the current roadmap to potential recovery, there may be some three-letter activities that we are looking forward to such as trips to the pub or the increased opportunity for a hug.

However, there may also be some three-letter activities that GP Practices Managers, in particular, may anticipate with less eagerness. Namely the CQC and in particular the return of their scheduled inspections. The CQC paused such inspections in March 2020 in recognition of the potential associated safety concerns during the Covid-19 pandemic. Subsequently, the CQC announced that inspections would restart four months later based on a feedback, intelligence-driven, and risk-assessed approach. 

Most recently in an update statement published on the 24th March 2021, the CQC signalled its intent from April to begin the following activity in Primary Care;

  • resume inspections of independent primary care providers, focusing on high/medium risk providers that have never been inspected or that were inspected but not rated
  • resume inspections of GPs, Out of Hours, and NHS 111 services where the CQC has identified breaches of regulations, including those rated as inadequate, requires improvement and good, along with services rated as requires improvement where there are no breaches of regulations.

These will be focused inspections looking at three key lines of enquiry (safe, effective, and well-led), as well as any other key areas previously rated as requires improvement/inadequate, and where concerns were identified and highlighted.

  • inspect services that are newly registered and have not been inspected during the 12 months since registration, or during the three months since registration for online services

Those Practices being inspected will be required to provide evidence to satisfy the ‘Safe’ ‘Effective’ and ‘Well Led’ domains.

CQC Inspections : Moving to the 'Next Normal'

The volume of inspections in the last 12 months has been less than 10% of that over the previous similar timeframe, with around 130 onsite inspections taking place compared to around 1,600. In April 2021 the number of practices with a present overall rating of “Requires improvement” totals approximately 310 and are members of 89 differing CCGs. So whilst the CQC approach is risk-based and incremental, the direction of travel is clear which means that all Practices now need to be thinking about and assessing their current level of preparedness for their next inspection. 

A simple plan for a Practice to begin this process could be to adopt the following 3 step gap analysis approach that reviews

  1. The Leadership/Management Team’s understanding of the present CQC “Transitional Monitoring Approach”
  2. Existing systems and operating practices against CQC standard- including consistency of evidenced compliance and leadership within collective organisations such as PCNs
  3. Awareness with the operational team of CQC requirements and how your operating practices compare and evidence compliance.

Such an approach both raises the visibility and the awareness of the CQC requirements within the Practice and at the same time identifies any practical gaps that can then be addressed, in a managed way over the coming months, through interventions such a training.

Below are possible challenges that may be identified together with the solution that we are able to offer by working in partnership with the Practice;

 

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if we can help with any of your plans to make your next CQC inspection your best one yet.

Primary care training specialists Thornfields run highly popular and effective courses on all your Primary Care needs. For more information, visit www.thornfields.co.uk.


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