Home » How Will GP Practices Be Impacted By CQC’s New ‘Smarter Regulation’ Strategy?

How Will GP Practices Be Impacted By CQC’s New ‘Smarter Regulation’ Strategy?

The CQC has recently announced changes to their strategy. The Care Quality Commission states that their strategy changes enable more effective regulations in the health and social care sector. Part of these reforms include introducing a ‘smarter regulation’ strategy. 

This post explores what ‘smarter regulation’ entails and the impact of GP surgery compliance in this new system.

What Is Smarter Regulation?

Smarter regulation aims to move away from a scheduled set of inspections and develop a “more flexible, targeted approach”, according to the CQC. This smarter approach will use data to target resources in areas that will have the greatest impact. It is believed that by doing this, the CQC will be able to focus on areas where care is poor, and risk is high. The CQC claims by doing this, with the GP surgery’s compliance, they can be an “effective, proportionate and efficient regulator”.

What Does Smarter Regulation Mean? 

A date-lead approach to inspection is likely to result in GP practices being inspected less often. Not only will GP practises have fewer inspections, but this new data-led approach could lead to misinformation and misunderstanding. Situations may arise where the CQC has remote access to patient records. The CQC’s access to these records allows them to view patients’ records without context. Accurate data and GP surgery compliance is therefore imperative if the CQC wants to make this new approach successful. 

All information and data gathered by the CQC must be fully verified before used as part of the regulator’s GP risk assessment. 

Compliance Inspection Reports 

Part of the new strategy includes moving away from long reports written post-inspection. Instead of reports, “information and data to better meet the needs of all audiences” will be provided. Shorter reports run the risk of leaving out crucial details. A lack of detail will again run the risk of the correct and necessary contexts not being accounted for.

Whilst GP practises compliance with this new system is non-negotiable, there are steps that can be taken to protect the surgery. If GP practises are provided with a report they believe is not factually accurate or leaves out crucial information, they must challenge this. Failure to testify an inaccurate report will result in the publication of this misleading information. If a practice chooses to testify against its rating or report, shorter inspections will be required to identify areas of challenge. The draft stage is the only opportunity for the practice to challenge the content of a report before it becomes published and viewed as truth.

Adopting a risk-based inspection module may result in a disproportionate focus on GP practices considered to be at greater risk than others. This unbalanced focus may then increase enforcement action against these practices. It’s common for criticisms in inspection reports to form the foundation of further enforcement action. By challenging inaccurate information and understandings early on in the CQC inspection, GP practises can avoid further escalation and minimise enforcement action in the future.

If you’re seeking assistance or advice on your GP surgery compliance rights or other CPC-related concerns, we can help you. CSCC is a Nationally recognised Health & Social Care Compliance service. We have over forty years of experience providing help and support on CQC services. To find out more and get the help you need, call us on 07711 865051 or contact us via our email address: 

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