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CQC Proposals to change GP Practice Inspections

The CQC announced that they are consulting on plans to phase out on-site GP Practice Inspections, as well as changes to updates to practice ratings.

They said they would continue their current risk-based approach until at least the end of April 2021, undertaking inspections in response to ‘serious risk or harm, or where it supports the system’s response to the pandemic’.

They described their new approach would use wider sources of evidence, tools and techniques to assess a Practice’s quality of service, including evidence from inspections, without a site visit and whether there is a need for ‘significant enforcement action’ to protect people.

This means that much of their inspections will be made virtual and off-site, carrying out expectations in a safer manner and a move away from comprehensive on-site visits as their main method of gathering information. CQC’s Chief Executive Ian Trenholm said, “we’ve learned a lot from our response to the pandemic so far, and we’re using this to put us in a better place for the future and support services to keep people safe”. the CQC has also paused its programme of Provider Collaboration Reviews, which will restart ‘only when it is appropriate to do so’.

It also suggested there would be less bureaucracy, moving to update GP Practice ratings without visiting, and changing the frequency of ratings assessments so it is less rigid in its approach and change them when they recognise changes in quality and make on-site inspections more ‘targeted and flexible’.

Additionally, CQC want their services to be more streamlined as a result of these new proposals. “The way we currently consult and engage on any changes to our methods is a long process and means we can’t implement changes and tell our stakeholders about them quickly enough. We want to change this.” They will be listening to people’s opinions in order to change their methods more regularly. “Going forward, we’ll hear people’s views constantly through a range of ways, making it easier for us to design solutions together.”

There is also a proposal to scrap their current complex rating calculations that includes Population Groups, instead focusing on the Key Questions instead (Is it Safe/Effective/Caring/Responsive/Well-Led?). This was proposed because they found that it led to little variation in ratings across population groups, but also admitting that their current approach “is too complex and we are committed to…keep our approach as simple as possible”.

They propose a simple rating for each Key Question and an overall rating based on these results;

The consultation is open for comment until Tuesday 23rd March. Practices can view and comment on the proposals here.


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