CQC Confirms Massive GP Practice Fee Hike

The Care Quality Commission has indicated that annual fees for average-sized GP practices will increase quite significantly from April.

Care Quality Commission fees will rise by £4,526 annually, with the watchdog to recover such costs from providers.

A deal agreed as part of the GP contract will see fees reimbursed in full for the forthcoming financial year.

And practices will be expected to pay their fees upfront and invoice their local NHS England team.

But GP leaders have been strongly critical of the plans, stating that the increase in fees is little short of scandalous.

There have also been warnings that although reimbursement for practices may make some difference, transferring the costs to surgeries risks donating funding away from frontline services, and ultimately making needy patients more vulnerable.

Derbyshire LMC has already spoken strongly on the subject, labelling the Care Quality Commission as a “medieval robber-baron”.

And although plans are in place to reimburse practices, GP leaders have yet to secure a firm commitment from the government to protect practices from the increased cost that will be incurred.

The plans for this increase in costs had been initially flighted in a public consultation that took place last year.

And it became clear that government policy is for the watchdog to recover costs from providers.

Figures released by the Care Quality Commission indicate that its budget in 2015/16 was £249 million, but that this will fall to £217 million by the end of the decade.

Under the new proposals, annual costs will rise by £4,526 annually for practices with between 5,000 and 10,000 patients.

Care Quality Commission chief executive David Behan commented on the new fee situation, indicating the policy of the commission.

“All providers of health and care must be registered in order to provide services. Care Quality Commission provides the public with independent assurance that services are operating in their interests. The fee paid by providers is the charge for being registered with Care Quality Commission.”

And GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey confirmed the new arrangement in a statement.

“We successfully negotiated a full reimbursement of the Care Quality Commission fee rises by NHS England for this year in the annual changes to the GP contract. This will shield GP practices from the financial impact of these increases which will be welcomed given the incredible pressure on practice budgets. It is still unacceptable that limited resources are being diverted away from frontline care towards paying for a system that has been widely criticised as ineffective.”

Nonetheless, despite the united front put forth by the Care Quality Commission and General Practitioners Committee, many surgeries will be concerned about the implications of this new arrangement.


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