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GPs will ‘bear the brunt’ of CQC fee hike

21 October 2016

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Doctors could “bear the brunt” of  “unjustified” increase in fees proposed by the Care Quality Commission, say GP leaders.

The British Medical Association hit out at the CQC’s plan for a 76 per cent hike in fees paid by GPs.

The increase next year would stretch NHS resources and undermine patient care warned the BMA’s GPs committee chairman Chaand Nagpaul.

“These scandalous increases in fees of 76 per cent for GPs will waste vital NHS resources in flawed regulatory bureaucracy at the expense of providing patient care,” he said.

The CQC launched a consultation yesterday on the proposed increases.

The government said regulators which set fees must get the full cost of tier chargeable work from providers.

The increase could see single  location GPs with 5,001 to 10,000 patients paying a fee of £4,526 next year. This year’s fee is £2,574.

GPs with five locations could pay £16,736 in 2017-18, instead of the current £9,518 fee.

Fees for dentists would be cut  by 11 per cent if the proposals get the go-ahead.

Dr Nagpaul  criticised the  CQC’s registration and inspection process as “riddled with box-ticking and nit-picking.”

More than three quarters of GPs told a BMA survey this year they think the rating system is flawed.

Dr Nagpaul said: “The fee increase is added to practice expenses and workload in preparation for inspections of up to two days per month, which is taking doctors and nurses away from seeing patients.”

The CQC’s chairman Peter Wyman and chief executive David Behan said: “We do not underestimate the impact on providers and the market sustainability of  paying fees.”

They added: “We have a responsibility to cover our costs by charging fees, but we are also accountable for demonstrating that we are fair, efficient, effective and proportionate.”

The CQC said it  faces a predicted £16.2 million shortfall in fees to meet the estimated £37.5 million it needs to regulate GPs next year unless fees increase.

Providers should respond by January 11 2017.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is likely to have the final say on fees next March.