Joint CQC and BMA statement
Under the Health and Social Care Act 2008, all providers of primary medical services will be required to be registered with the CQC by 1 April 2013. The process leading to registration will begin in July 2012. As part of registration, practices will have to tell the Care Quality Commission (CQC) whether they are meeting the essential standards of quality and safety, which are derived from regulations governing the CQC's work.
The essential standards are based on legislation and cannot be altered. However, the British Medical Association’s General Practitioners Committee (GPC) and CQC are currently discussing how the standards will apply to primary care providers. Work carried out by the CQC, during the delay to the registration of most providers of primary care, has focused on the need to be proportionate and appropriate, reducing bureaucracy to a minimum. The CQC and the GPC have been working together to achieve this and to ensure that the registration requirements are understood across the primary care sector.
To that end, the CQC is working with stakeholders to improve the logistics of its registration process. This is partly taking place through the CQC's Stakeholder Advisory Group, on which the GPC is represented.
Discussions are also taking place between the CQC and GPC about how compliance will be demonstrated and monitored following registration. The CQC is working to ensure that the compliance monitoring process is proportionate and appropriate. As part of this, the CQC will be carrying out a pilot in the Summer, to test how its model of compliance monitoring will work in primary care.
There is no need for practices to purchase expensive software or consultancy services in order to register with the CQC. Most practices delivering good quality care will already be meeting the majority, if not all, of the essential standards.
The GPC and CQC will continue to issue updates in the coming months, including further detailed guidance on registration.