Preparing for CQC inspections: Are annual patient surveys mandatory?

There often seems to be a lot of vague and conflicting advice available with regards to what is expected of practices during CQC inspections, and First Practice Management (FPM) Group helps clarify a variety of CQC-related questions every week. An example of one of these queries is “are annual patient surveys mandatory?”

To answer this question, we got in contact with a CQC spokesperson, who explained the following:

“It isn’t mandatory in terms of regulation, but if practices think it is something that can benefit themselves in terms of helping towards meeting the requirements, they can do so. However, it isn’t something we require of them.”

In short, annual patient surveys are not a mandatory requirement. However, this does not mean that they couldn’t prove to be a useful tool in terms of meeting the requirements of a CQC inspection.

Conducting patient surveys can be a good way of showing that practices have made efforts to listen to the people who use their services. CQC inspections ask practices to show that they keep patients engaged and involved, and look at how people’s views and experiences are gathered and acted on in order to shape and improve the practice’s services and culture.

As well, CQC inspections ask how the concerns and complaints of people who use practices are listened to. Conducting patient surveys could be one way of creating an outlet for people to raise any concerns they would like to share, and provide an opportunity for the practice to respond to their thoughts and act on them if necessary.

Another way that conducting patient surveys could prove beneficial is as a tool to gain feedback on a variety of issues relevant to CQC inspections, such as whether people who use the practice’s services (and the people close to them) feel that they are able to ask questions about their care and treatment, or how easy they find it to learn further information about those things.

To summarise, CQC guidance makes it clear that communication between practices and the people who use them is an important factor when it comes to inspections. While it is not mandatory to issue patients with annual surveys, it can provide a way to help them feel engaged, communicate concerns and share their experiences of using a practice. As such, Practice Managers may very well decide that surveys could be a useful tool in helping them prepare for an inspection.

If you would like some help getting your practice ready for inspection, consider Thornfield’s Preparing for a CQC Inspection workshop.

Alternatively, you can head to the CQC website for further help and advice surrounding the process.

© First Practice Management, 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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