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Ten CQC myths debunked

Ten CQC myths debunked


Everyone who works in general practice understands the world is full of myths. You know the sort of thing - flu injections cause flu, chocolate causes acne, colds are caused by getting cold. All of them believed by thousands - all of them nonsense.

In the world of the Care Quality Commission, myths abound as well– particularly about how we will regulate primary care. So here’s ten to be going on with.

1. If you have inadequate premises, CQC will shut you down.

Sheer nonsense.  We understand the reality of GP premises, and if your premises are not state of the art then don’t panic. For instance, if you don’t have disability access, you just have to tell us how you deal with patients who can’t get into your surgery. For instance, you may arrange a home visit – if so, that’s fine

2. You have to comply with all CQC’s standards to register.

Not true at all.  You simply need to demonstrate either how you mitigate any risk from not complying or tell us how you are working towards this.

3. You mustn’t have carpets or toys in your waiting room

A sheer myth. We’ve never said this (just like the Health & Safety Executive never banned conkers from schools).

4. Registration is all about policies and protocols

Absolutely not. We are much less interested in policies and protocols than in knowing what care is like for your patients, whether staff know what to do about things like child protection, and so on. Good practices shouldn’t need to do anything they aren’t already doing.

5. You will need to employ expensive consultants/IT software

 We know lots of organisations are trying to sell you packages to make registration “easier”. These often imply that you need huge numbers of files and protocols. You don’t (see 4 above).

6. You will need to change the way you work

I am absolutely confident that most practices  will be able to demonstrate compliance with the essential standards of quality and safety without changing the way they work. After all, they are essential standards and there's nothing in them you shouldn't be doing already.

7. There will be reams of paperwork to complete

Actually there will be NO paperwork to complete. We have worked with lots of GP organisations to simplify the whole application process – and this will all be on-line

8. Practices will need to employ extra staff in order to complete the registration process and provide the evidence we need

We believe that most providers will actually already have to hand the information we may require to demonstrate compliance with the essential standards. Partners and managers run businesses that they want to be safe and effective. That’s what CQC wants too.

9. CQC will close down lots of practices

Absolutely not. Because this is a new system of regulation the transitional regulations for registration allow you to declare ‘non-compliance’ with any of the essential standards that you don’t yet meet. We will however still need to understand how you plan to become compliant and by when. In only the most serious of circumstances, we do have the power to refuse registration, and following registration, close down a service. However we would need to take into account the effect of not having these services available.

10. CQC doesn’t understand General Practice

Not true – and largely because we have worked so closely with large numbers of GPs and GP organisations. Over 500 GPs have joined our provider reference group, which is a real source of information to us – you can join at Or click here for more details


Professor David Haslam is National Clinical Adviser to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and visiting Professor in Primary Health Care at De Montfort University, Leicester.

He's President of the British Medical Association and immediate past-President of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

Find out more about Professor David Haslam


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