What does a CQC Outstanding Practice look like? Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector at the CQC reveals how to improve scores.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is understandably a controversial body. Its usefulness and ability to improve care standards is often called into question. Inspections are generally comprised of satisfying bureaucratic requirements rather than assessment of anything of real merit. A recent Pulse survey brought to light to extent of the lack of confidence in the CQC, with nearly half of the 2,361 Primary Care Workers surveyed indicating they feel the way the CQC inspects and regulates doesn’t necessarily improve quality of care for the patient.

However, despite the industry wide distaste for the CQC one thing is unfortunately for certain. It’s here to stay. In today’s Newsletter we’ve developed a CQC checklist designed to reduce the burden of your next inspection, and ensure your practice scores ‘Outstanding’ next time the dreaded inspector arrives:

Defining ‘Outstanding’ practice in an all-encompassing way is challenging. Making judgments is inherently subjective and the wider context must be considered. However, Professor Steve Field Chief Inspector at the CQC advises on some common traits linking all CQC outstanding practices, we’ve taken a look at those below.

“Find innovative solutions to inequalities, problems, or unmet patient needs”

Feelings of inequality, problems, and unmet patient needs often arise from inadequate staffing levels. A recent GP Online report confirmed what was already known – larger practices tend to fair better at CQC Inspection than smaller practices.

Ensuring a full, motivated and stable workforce will help address issues.

Reducing reliance on AD HOC locums in favour of long-term cover is a simple step that can be taken to improve scores. Continuity is as important for practice as it is for patient. Use of regular GPs in favour of AD HOC GPs will allow familiarisation with referral pathways and other nuance associated your practices whilst in most cases simultaneously improving patient feedback.

“Show tangible improvements for patients”

Whilst improvements to practice are obvious to Practice Managers who are at their given Practice day in, day out; They’re not so easy for a CQC Inspector to see. Inspectors are at typically only at a practice for a number of hours hence you’ll need to demonstrate tangible improvement quickly and concisely.

Primary Care Medical Chambers (PCMC) recommends regular audits to demonstrate improved outcomes for patients or improved access to services. You should be able to quickly draw upon these audits when required.

“Be scalable, sustained, and robust”

Examples are not just about delivering good care to one person, but showing good care is regularly delivered to a range of patients there should be processes in place to demonstrate this.

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