The fees for Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection could increase six-fold within two years, according to a CQC consultation launched today.
This means that a single location GP practice (with 5,001 to 10,000 registered patients) could have to pay £2,574 in 2016/17 and £4,839 in 2017/18, rising from £725 in 2015/16. Similarly, a multiple-location practice (with five locations) could pay £9,518 in 2016/17 and £17,893 in 2017/18 if the CQC’s plans are carried out.
However, the Department of Health (DH) has pledged to contribute £15 million to cover the rising costs that practices look to face in 2016/17. The DH has not confirmed whether this will be able in the following years.
Commenting on the consultation, Dr Maureen Baker, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “We are pleased that the Department of Health has stepped in to address this situation, so that practices will not suffer financially as a result of these changes – but practices need assurances that these will cover all costs.
“What we really need is for the GP inspection regime to be halted and a less resource-heavy and bureaucratic process be put in place, so that GPs are not taken away from frontline patient care whilst inspections are underway,” she added.
The reason for the price increase is that the commission is “expected to move to compliance with the government policy of setting fees that fully cover our chargeable costs,” the consultation stated.
The fee increases are not a flat rate across the health sector and are “differentiated so that each sector reaches full chargeable cost recovery at the same time, but with different percentage increases applying to them, depending on how far that sector currently is from reaching full chargeable cost recovery.”
The consultation offers two options: full chargeable cost recovery over two years, or full chargeable cost recovery over four years, and are looking for responses to the consultation by noon on 15 January 2016. Find out more here.