In a statement published by CQC Chief Inspectors, the regulator has announced they are planning to carry out online remote checks on GP practices ‘every month’ to assess risk to patients.
Once the check has been done, the CQC will publish an update on its website if the practice is deemed low risk.
The plans have been revealed from a draft document, where the CQC stated it will be “moving on” from its transitional monitoring approach.
This was a temporary approach toward monitoring services, adopted during the COVID pandemic.
It saw the regulator use its ‘remote monitoring’ system of using data and conversations with GP practices and out-of-hours providers, to identify risk of unsafe care which then prompt the inspections.
Now, the CQC have changed their approach to a new system that includes a “monthly check of the information and data” it holds on to GP practices.
The changes should come into force next month and has been piloted in several areas of the UK since 15 June.
The draft document stated the CQC will consider information it holds on individual practices such as:
- Previous inspection reports and ratings
- “Monitoring information” collected through its usual data sources
- “Inspector’s knowledge of your service”
As a reaction to the announcement made by the CQC on the change to the way they inspect GP Practies, Atif Ghaffar, the Director of the Medical team at CQC Compliance said:
“This doesn’t come as a complete surprise at all and it simply reflects the use of technology and information available for analysis.
“Practices which are well led and in which all the team share the same culture won’t have a problem.
“It makes sense to prioritise inspections where concerns have been raised and support struggling practices in order to improve greater patient satisfaction and healthier outcomes.”
What If a Practice Is Deemed ‘High Risk’?
If a practice is deemed to be presenting a “higher risk” to patients, the CQC will make “additional checks” including “gathering people’s experience of care and contacting the provider”.
However, if a site is deemed as “very high risk”, it will carry out an inspection.
What If a Practice Is Deemed ‘Low Risk’?
The CQC will publish a statement on its website showing that it “has not found any evidence that tells us we need to re-assess the rating or quality of care at that service at that time.”
Included in this are practices that are rated as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ and are complying to all relevant regulations.
The regulator also said that telephone or online calls may be possible once information has been reviewed.
These calls could take “an hour or two” but are not categorised as an inspection.
Also, the CQC have stated they will consider any online feedback left by patients regarding a service as well as any information from other agencies including Healthwatch and local authorities.
Within the document, the CQC stated that the new style of checks will not include primary care dental services or NHS Trusts.
Statement by the Chief Inspectors:
“We’re further evolving our monitoring approach to ensure the public have assurance about the safety and quality of the care they receive, while still focusing on risk.
“We’ll start piloting changes in how we monitor services from this week, before rolling these out to more services from July.”
To find out more about how CQC Compliance can help you prepare for your inspections and to learn more about the CQC’s new approach towards GP practices, contact us today.