Figures Suggest Practices Left in Limbo Over CQC Reports

Official figures indicate that the Care Quality Commission failed to deliver reports within the targeted 50 days in approximately 40% of cases.

GP leaders warned that the tardiness involved is leaving practices and their staff in a state of limbo.

Figures from January indicate that the Care Quality Commission was only able to complete 61% of reports within the 50-day inspection target.

This was well under the 90% figure that the commission had been set.

Inspections have been completed at 7,705 GP locations, effectively completing the process of assessing all surgeries that were initially registered when the scheme was launched back in October 2014.

GP leaders said at that time that the Care Quality Commission should aim to turn around reports as quickly as possible.

But GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey has stated that the current situation effectively places both practices and healthcare professionals in limbo.

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has already informed the watchdog that it must increase the rapidity with which it publishes inspection reports.

At the time the Public Accounts Committee suggested that there can be sizeable gaps between the inspection and publication, with an alarming lack of attention to detail.

In response to this criticism, the commission indicated that it had appointed an external consultancy to “re-examine the issue of report timeliness”.

And board papers from the watchdog note that this process is ongoing.

“There are further conversations to take place with colleagues from the enabling functions before the final analysis is complete and recommendations and possible actions can be prioritised”.

However, the aforementioned Vautrey suggested that the Care Quality Commission is significantly underperforming, which should be considered serious considering the critical role of the organisation.

“The CQC can do better. They have set a target they should aspire to. They need to be as responsive as possible and provide information to practices as quickly as possible so they are not left hanging on.”

Vautrey called on the commission to improve as soon as possible.

“This leaves practice feeling unsure as to what the outcome actually was. Inspectors give some feedback following the end of the visiting process so you have some feeling of how things went, but until you have that report you are left in limbo – and that adds to the anxiety to practice staff. They need to reduce that and turn it around as fast as possible.”

The head of the General Practitioners Committee also believes that the delay in delivering reports is making it more difficult for practices to contest aspects of ratings when these are unfavourable.

“The longer the process goes on the more difficult it is to be actually sure what happened on a particular day,’ he said. ‘But the key thing is most CQC reports are outlining good practice and that needs to be communicated to practices as quickly as possible.”

The Care Quality Commission was established in 2009 to regulate and inspect health and social care services in England.

It was formed from three predecessor organisations – the Healthcare Commission, the Commission for Social Care Inspection, and the Mental Health Act Commission.


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