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MPs brand GP practice regulation ‘challenging’

9 January 2013

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Primary care registration has been branded a “challenge” that will test how much the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has learned from dental registration two years ago.

While the CQC’s annual accountability report by the Health Select Committee released today (9 January 2013), was critical of the regulator, it was reassured the organisation will improve on its past encounters with dentists in registering and regulating GP practices. 

Stephen Dorrell, Health Select Committee chair, said: “My committee will examine carefully the extent to which the CQC has learnt from its experience of dental registration and is able to deliver a streamlined process that limits the burdens placed on GPs.”

Dr Peter Swinyard, chair of the Family Doctor Assosciation (FDA) predicted there will be few problems with the “painless” registration process but remained concerned with potential retention payments to the regulator.

“GPs will be expected to pay to remain partners with the CQC, unlike Secondary Care practitioners,” he added.

The CQC estimated it will cost £12m to regulate GP practice. In 2013/14 it aims to recover half of that figure, but fee-levels for individual practices have not yet been set..

Even at this late stage, one GP leader has raised doubts about the value of being regulated by the CQC.

Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chair of the British Medical Association’s GP Committee said: “Many practices would question if [being subject to CQC inspections] is even necessary.

“Even the CQC recognises the risk in GP surgeries is very low – but it’s a legal requirement.”

Chief executive of the CQC, David Behan, said: “We set out our intentions to tailor the way we regulate different types of organisations based on what has the most impact on driving improvement.”