The CQC published its State of Care report recently, which is an annual assessment of health and social care in England. The report found that 91 % of GP practices were rated good in 2018, with a further 5 % rated outstanding, despite increased pressure on services.
Once again, general practice has been found to be delivering the highest standard of care compared with other sectors, despite the workload pressures CQC themselves focus on. This achievement is down to the hard work of GPs and their practice staff, and provides further evidence of the benefit of the partnership model of working. However we can't take this for granted and the review was right to point out the need for additional support and investment in general practice and community based services.
Provider Information Collection (PIC)
The PIC will replace the Provider Information Return that is currently collected in advance of an inspection. Its purpose is to enable practices to provide information on changes in the quality of care between inspections as well as contextual information e.g. changes in demographics, QOF indicators, patient survey results etc. This approach will help the CQC to prioritise their inspections on providers where there has been most change, either deterioration or improvement, so that they can continue to focus where risk is greatest at the same time as support practices move from good to outstanding. It will also enable them to move to more focused inspections which concentrate on those areas of most change.
At this stage, the CQC are not ready to roll out the online PIC from April 2019 as further development work is needed to the system before it can be effectively implemented. They are therefore proposing to put in place an interim approach that will allow them to move closer to their objective of the information collection, albeit one that will not be available online. This is likely to take the form of a structured phone call between the practice and inspector to discuss the practice’s response to the questions within the PIC which will have been published in advance. It is important to state that these calls are not inspections, they are meant to be a conversation about quality which underpins the development of the practice/inspector relationship.
The CQC have consulted the RCGP and BMA on this approach and they will test it with a number of practices before it is implemented from April 2019. Longer term, they will continue to work towards a digitally-based system for collecting information.
There will be two test practices in Lincolnshire trialling this new approach;
- Washingborough Family Practice
- The Harrowby Lane Surgery, Grantham
Until the PIC is ready the CQC will continue to inspect practices;
- They deem at risk
- Those that were inspected early in the inspection process, i.e. inspected from October 2014 onwards
- New providers/registrations
- New Report Format
A new report format is also now used by the CQC which has an evidence table attached. Practices may find it useful to work through this template in advance of their inspections to help them prepare their evidence for the day. A copy can be downloaded in the attachment above.
There are now 89 CQC Mythbusters for General Practice.
These cover a range of topics & give valuable insight into what you can expect to be covered on your inspection day, along with hints & tips of what the inspection team would expect to see. The mythbusters may be accessed here.