Improvements in watchdog inspections welcomed by IDF

Private doctors have welcomed major changes to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection process.

Dr James Mackay

Dr James Mackay, chairman of the Independent Doctors Federation (IDF) regulation committee, said over the last year it had become clear  the watchdog was developing ‘a more flexible and responsive way of regulating providers’.

In his annual report to the group, he drew attention to a new way of working by inspectors, who are moving away from on-site inspections and using digital technology.

Dr Mackay said : ‘We have said that we welcome this new direction of travel by the CQC and we support their approach to smarter regulation.

‘We believe that inspection will become less intrusive and time-consuming, as members will be able to upload data in real time for their inspector to review – including audit results and patient satisfaction surveys.’

This should save private doctors time and the burden of having to amass and email huge volumes of information just before an inspection.

Assessing and rating independent doctors was ‘a major challenge’ for CQC inspectors because the independent sector covered a wide range of specialties.

Dr Mackay added: ‘The CQC have told us that they have difficulty accessing data and intelligence from private providers and we will establish a collaborative initiative between the IDF and CQC to improve this situation.’

The IDF, which holds its AGM tomorrow in London (Wednesday 27 April), aims to continue raising members’ inspection issues with the CQC.