Help is at hand for inspections

A new initiative for private GPs aims to help those struggling with Care Quality Commission inspections. Dr Neil Haughton gives the details.

Over the past six years, the Independent Doctors Federation (IDF) has developed a close and productive relationship with the Royal College of General Pract­itioners (RCGP). 

What started as meetings over dinner has led to joint ventures and our contribution to college conferences and meetings. 

The college – and especially its chairman Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard – has opened many doors for us and recognised that many of its members work either partly or wholly in private practice and most of our GPs in the IDF are college members. 

It introduced us, for example, to the NHS England’s lead on technology and we are in active discussions with them to assist better communication between the NHS and private GPs. 

You may already be aware of our ongoing communication with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and we have advised it for over five years on how to inspect independent primary care. 

We are now in the process of being inspected again, this time being rated – at our suggestion – in line with NHS practices. Obviously, inspections are stressful and most of us are being rated as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’, which is reassuring. 

That’s about 95% apparently, which is line with the NHS. But some have struggled to meet expectations and have been rated as ‘inadequate’.