While 96% of practices have been rated good or outstanding by the CQC, the scrutiny is relentless, with more ‘boots on the ground’ inspections for a proportion of good and outstanding practices each year.
Here are five tips on keeping your website CQC-ready at all times.
1) Display your CQC rating
The regulations state that practices must ensure that their most recent rating is displayed conspicuously and legibly on their website. It should be displayed on the home page, or on a permanent page where as many people as possible looking for information about the practice will see it, even if they are not specifically looking for the rating.
The CQC provides a handy website widget for practices to use. Using the widget will make sure your website displays and automatically updates all the information required under the regulation, which includes the date the inspection report was published. Take a look at the Old Leake Medical Centre website to see the widget in action.
It’s not a requirement to use the widget but if you decide not to use it your practice website must still display the rating, the date of the report and a link to the CQC website where patients can see the full report.
Note that the CQC makes the judgement on whether or not your ratings are displayed legibly and conspicuously. If your website fails to make the grade, a fine might be imposed and future inspection ratings may be affected.
2) Update your GP earnings info
All practice websites must include up-to-date information about GP earnings. You will need to declare average pay in the last financial year before tax and national insurance for all GPs working in the practice, including locums employed for more than six months.
3) Include a named GP statement
All practices are required under the GMS contract to allocate a named GP to all patients, including children. A statement explaining what this means for patients must be included on your practice website on an appropriate page.
4) Keep it fresh
Make sure the information on your website is up-to-date, especially on the home page which is the first port of call for most visitors. Look out for:
- Opening hours: make sure any changes to opening hours, including extended access, are clearly signposted.
- Staff changes: keep your team page updated with the latest leavers and joiners – this is particularly important for doctors and other clinical staff.
- Links to online services: Can your patients access your online appointment booking and repeat prescription services quickly and easily?
- Out-of-date news: archive any news items that have passed their sell-by date. Flu jab clinics, closing dates for training and Christmas/New Year opening hours all need to be taken off the home page once the dates have passed.
5) Review your website regularly
Make a diary date to check your website regularly – at the very least use the checklist in the point above to keep key information up-to-date on a monthly basis. Specialist practice website providers should understand the pressure you are under when the CQC is about to descend and help with last-minute changes. But landing your website provider with a long list of updates with only 24 hours’ notice is risky, with no guarantee that the changes will be made in time for the inspection.
Author: Tim Green
Practice website expert and co-founder of GPsurgery.net, Tim Green has been helping practice managers improve their patient communications since 2005.