The ongoing debate as to how best to regulate GP practices has been joined by the new chair of the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Baroness Young told the Health Service Journal that she has yet to be convinced by government plans for her department to include GP regulation of primary care services as set out in the Health and Social Care Bill.
Once established, the CQC will take on the work of the Healthcare Commission, the Commission for Social Care Inspection and the Mental Health Act Commission.
An alternative to coming under this remit would be for surgeries to join a voluntary scheme of assessing practice standards, like the one due to be trialled in 40 English practices by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).
Baroness Young said: “The one thing that would be really bad news is if the commission spread itself wider without the additional resources,” adding that the question of including GPs was “up for debate”.
Professor Steve Field, chair of the RCGP, hopes that by having a viable voluntary monitoring scheme in place, GPs could avoid more gruelling inspections by the CQC.
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