Patient care is being compromised because of the way in which the Care Quality Commission inspects practices, doctors say today.
The demands of preparing for an inspection distract from time clinicians need for patient care, according to a survey.
The British Medical Association survey out, this morning (29 January, 2016), found 80% of the 1,900 GP practices that responded said preparing for a CQC inspection led to a reduction in the time allowed for patient care.
In addition, 87% said that on the day of the CQC inspection, GP services available for patients had to be cut, while 67% reported a loss of nursing time.
Seven in ten had fund staff overtime while preparing for the inspections, while locums were employed by 30% of respondents.
Only 11% said they believed their final CQC rating was fair.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA GP committee chair, said: “This survey demonstrates the damaging, negative impact that the CQC’s failing inspection programme is having on patient care in general practice.
“GPs are being forced to divert valuable time away from treating patients towards the endless box ticking, paperwork and bureaucracy that is the hall mark of this programme.
“Vital NHS resources are being wasted on employing locums and staff to cover the work of a GP practice in the run up to and while the CQC is in the building. These findings come at a time when the CQC is proposing unacceptable and extortionate rises in their fees which will pull even more resources away from frontline services.
“GP services must be properly assessed so that the public can be reassured they are getting safe, effective care, which the CQC’s evidence shows the vast majority of GP practices currently deliver.
“However, the current system is disproportionate, onerous and flawed.”
Today’s Special Conference of GPs will see doctors calling for wholesale CQC inspection reform and comes just months after the CQC withdrew part of its assessment process that allocated ratings to GP practices before inspectors had visited the surgery.
The BMA has also called for the scrapping of planned fee rises related to the CQC, branding them “extortionate” and a drain on precious NHS resources.