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CQC fee hike will increase service variation, says NHSCC


11 January 2016

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There will be increased variation in service from general practice if the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) proposed fee increase goes ahead, NHS Clinical Commissioners has warned.

There will be increased variation in service from general practice if the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) proposed fee increase goes ahead, NHS Clinical Commissioners has warned.

The CQC want to increase fees for general practice up to seven-fold, in order to “enable the CQC to move towards a full-cost recovery system for all aspects of its inspections”. This could mean that, for example, CQC fees for a GP practice with 5,000-10,000 registered patients that operates at one location would rise from £725 to £4,839.

This would put a “disproportionate financial burden” on general practice, increase variation, and reduce commissioner’s ability to invest in primary care, the NHSCC said.

Dr Amanda Doyle, (pictured) co-chair of the organisation and chief clinical officer of NHS Blackpool CCG, cautioned: “Rather than having a positive impact on quality, the additional financial burden will mean the CQC is instead putting yet more pressure on the GPs and other providers that it regulates, which will only see an increase in the variation in service at the expense of the best interests of patients.

“Given that the CQC has not currently demonstrated that it is effective in driving meaningful quality improvements to benefit patients or providers, with the Public Accounts Committee in fact recently finding a number of areas to which the organisation was not performing to standard, we do not believe that the proposed fees increases are justified.”

Dr Steve Kell, Doyle’s co chair, agreed that now is not the time to be talking about increasing fees, as it could halt the transformation of primary care if money and time will be spent on regulation rather than patient care.

“The CQC is planning on introducing a new strategy later this year, and the Department of Health has launched a consultation on proposals for CQC to take on increased responsibilities,” Kell continued. “Setting fees prior to clarifying what is being funded, and what the future direction of the regulatory regime is, would be wholly premature.”

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