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New regulation requirements could lead to prosecutions, managers told

2 September 2009

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Legally enforceable registration requirements for health and social care services to be introduced in 2012 could result in non-registering practices being prosecuted, delegates at London’s Management in Practice Event were told today (2 September 2009).

Dr Linda Hutchinson (pictured), Director of Registration at the Care Quality Commission (CQC), gave a keynote address on the future registration of primary care at the Event, held at Islington’s Business Design Centre.

From April 2012 all regulated healthcare providers must be registered with the CQC to show they are meeting essential quality standards. Private GPs will need to be registered earlier – from October 2010. Without registration, providers will not be allowed to operate. The CQC will publish guidance on compliance in December.

In a question and answer session with Dr Hutchinson, one delegate voiced concerns that the new requirements might mean duplication of existing evidence of quality already required in non-clinical aspects of the Quality and Outcomes Framework.

However, Dr Hutchinson insisted that the new requirements would not lead to duplication, since the CQC would look at such existing evidence first, rather than approaching the practice directly for this information.

In a later session on legal issues in general practice, solicitor Derek Bellew urged practice managers to prepare themselves for the new regulation requirements. “There will be prosecutions and some casualties,” he said. Mr Bellew said that he also suspected there will be applications to court from practices appealing against deregistration, which could lead to negotiations over some aspects over the new system.

GP and comedian Phil Hammond, who addressed delegates in the afternoon, warned against over-regulation of general practice in a humorous presentation. He spoke of how, in his experience, the need to “tick boxes” meant GPs and nurses spent less “face-to-face time” with their patients and more time checking computer screens.

“General practice is complex,” he said. “It isn’t about ticking a box.” He urged managers not to “lose the stuff that’s hard to measure” – such as the GP-patient relationship and continuity of care – and to facilitate these aspects of general practice as much as possible.