Intended for healthcare professionals


GPs call for an end to CQC inspections

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 02 February 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i636
  1. Matthew Limb
  1. 1London

GPs at a special conference have called on the BMA to campaign for the abolition of general practice inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

They want a new system of self regulation under a peer led quality assurance scheme.

The BMA’s conference of local medical committees, the local representative bodies for GPs, was held in London on 30 January to discuss problems facing general practice. Local representatives and national leaders attacked the CQC’s inspections for causing stress for doctors and undermining GPs’ confidence.

The conference backed a motion that urged the BMA’s General Practitioners Committee to develop “realistic proposals” for an alternative model, and “explore all options by which GP practices could lawfully withdraw from engaging with the CQC.”

Jackie Applebee, who represented City and East London Local Medical Committee, said that she was not against regulation but that she thought the CQC’s inspections were “heavy handed and insensitive” and that they provoked anxiety in a profession already stretched to breaking point. She criticised the “outrageous cost” of inspections, and the time GPs spent away from patients in preparation. As boycotting the CQC would probably be unlawful, GPs should use what leverage they had. “We can campaign, we can get out onto the streets,” she said.

In his speech to the conference, Chaand Nagpaul, who chairs the General Practitioners Committee, said that GPs were living in “a climate of fear” because of inspections. He said that eight in 10 practices in a survey found preparing for CQC inspections “very stressful” and that 80% of GPs said that they were more likely to want to leave the profession as a result.

“The CQC takes no account of your circumstances, and blames, names, and shames you even if you’re running on empty with skeleton staff or are locked into inadequate premises not of your own choosing,” Nagpaul said.

Maureen Baker, who chairs the Royal College of General Practitioners, was applauded after calling for the immediate suspension of CQC inspections of general practice, describing the system as “not fit for purpose.”

It “demotivated and deprofessionalised” clinicians and staff, taking them away from frontline patient care, she said.

Baker said, “Of course some form of regulation is necessary, but the system should be working to support practices—not beating them with a stick because a GP has not attended a refresher training course on how to resuscitate.”

She said a review being undertaken by the CQC of its approach was an “important opportunity to drastically change the inspection regime.”


Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i636

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