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Seven in 10 BAME GPs find CQC inspections ‘traumatic’

by Costanza Pearce
3 September 2021

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More than 70% of GPs from minority ethnic backgrounds would describe CQC inspections as ‘traumatic’, a small survey has revealed.

The survey, carried out by the GP forum at the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO), also found that almost 60% of 130 respondents did not feel inspectors show ‘understanding of the diversity and cultural aspects’ of their practice.

Chair of BAPIO’s GP forum and GP in the North-East Dr Kamal Sidhu told Pulse that 71% of participants ‘felt that CQC inspections and the behaviour of the CQC inspection team has been a traumatic experience, rather than a positive and constructive experience’.

And 59% of respondents reported that CQC inspectors ‘showed no understanding of the diversity and cultural aspects of the team and the populations’, according to the survey.

Meanwhile, 52% agreed that practices with predominantly ethnic minority GPs or GPs from diverse backgrounds receive ‘disproportionately poorer outcomes’, as well as smaller practices in inner-city and rural areas.

The survey also found that 41% of respondents felt that their ethnicity had a bearing on their inspection and rating.

BAPIO said its survey backs up longstanding concerns about the ‘shockingly disparate impact of CQC inspections on general practice’ – with GPs from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds also more likely to work in practices in deprived areas.

Dr Kalindi Tumurugoti, GP forum executive member and a GP in Nottingham, said: ‘It is alarming that BAME-predominant practices receive disproportionality poorer outcomes, thus a double whammy, with the additional regulatory burden, for BAME GPs who have historically manned areas of high deprivation.’

BAPIO president Dr Ramesh Mehta OBE added that the organisation is writing to the BMA’s GP Committee as well as the CQC to reiterate its longstanding concerns.

He said: ‘We had raised the issue of disparity in ratings as well as unfair penalties on single-handed practices with CQC half a decade ago and it is appalling to see that the situation has not improved. 

‘We are sharing our concern with CQC again and expect that this tragic situation will not be allowed to continue.’ 

The survey also found:

  • 80% of respondents did not feel CQC inspections are ‘fair, transparent, objective, or replicable’
  • 61% felt that the CQC ratings given do not reflect the care provided by their teams but 62% said they were either unable to challenge the decisions or ‘were not listened to’
  • 66% said CQC inspectors did not demonstrate ‘insights into the systemic challenges’ experienced by their practice
  • Around half (48%) of respondents ‘did not feel supported’ by their LMC and/or their CCG

A CQC spokesperson told Pulse that the regulator takes concerns raised about the experiences of GPs from an ethnic minority background ‘very seriously’.

Earlier this month, CQC chief inspector of primary care Dr Rosie Benneyworth published an update reiterating that the regulator is ‘absolutely committed to equality’.

She said: ‘One of the challenges my team and I have been reflecting on is concerns that practices led by GPs from an ethnic minority background receive poorer CQC ratings or regulatory outcomes. 

‘Over the next few months, we will be carrying out work to understand this issue and the impact of our current regulatory approach. This will include looking at evidence we and other organisations hold, previous research and listening to the experiences of GPs from an ethnic minority background, including through surveys and focus groups. We will also be examining our own diversity and methodology through an equality lens.’

Dr Benneyworth added that an external expert advisory group is providing ‘important challenge, guidance and advice’.

The spokesperson said the CQC is grateful for BAPIO’s participation in the group.

Earlier this year, the CQC committed to collecting practices’ ethnicity data in response to concerns this was a ‘factor’ in inspection ratings.

Meanwhile, the BMA last month urged the CQC to halt its new monthly GP practice safety reviews.

This story first appeared on our sister title, Pulse.