The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has launched a public consultation on how it rates services, to simplify GP practice ratings and increase their flexibility.
This new consultation is the second the CQC has launched this year, following its consultation on a new strategy in January 2021.
The changes proposed in the second consultation include changing the way GP practices are assessed.
Under new proposals, practices will be rated on five key questions – is the practice safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led? The practice will then get an overall rating which will be calculated using the findings from the five questions.
This is a change from the current rating system, which still offers a rating on the five key questions, but it also assesses practices on people’s experiences in care across six population groups: older people; people with long-term conditions; families; children and young people; working age people; people whose circumstances make them vulnerable; and people experiencing poor mental health.
Currently, the CQC gives a rating for each population group for both the effective and responsive key questions. These two answers are then aggregated to reach an overall rating for each population group.
The consultation document said the change was due to ‘little variation’ in ratings across population groups, as well as the desire to simplify the rating system.
It added that providing care to specific population groups is often influenced by wider local health systems, which the CQC wants to reflect in its approach to primary care networks and the wider healthcare system.
Other changes proposed in the document include extending the pilot approach launched last year in general practice, which avoids in-person visits as far as possible, and changing the frequency of ratings to enable a ‘less rigid’ approach. Ratings will be updated when the CQC recognises changes in quality, rather than using the current inspection frequencies.
In the consultation document, the CQC said: ‘Following on from the consultation on our new strategy and ambitions launched earlier in January, we’re now proposing some specific changes that will enable us to deal with ongoing challenges from the pandemic and move us towards our ambition to be a more dynamic, proportionate and flexible regulator.’
The consultation is open until 5pm on Tuesday 23 March.