CQC is making changes to the way it uses data to inform its regulation and inspection of General Practice. It has carried out a thorough review of its GP Intelligent Monitoring, including how the public uses this information, following the errors found last year in the original publication.
Following a meeting yesterday with GP leaders and experts in GP data and quality, CQC has agreed not to use bandings for its GP Intelligent Monitoring in future, and to change the language used to highlight variation between practices so that it does not imply a risk to patient safety. CQC will be correcting GP Intelligent Monitoring reports to improve them, particularly around the analysis of variation between practices.
All those at the meeting stated their commitment to openness and transparency and the principle of using data to inform the regulation of general practice.
The Royal College of General Practitioners chair, Dr Maureen Baker, said: “We are pleased that the CQC has acted on our concerns and agreed to abolish the banding system until a suitable alternative can be agreed by all relevant parties.
“It is essential to remember that the vast majority of practices are doing an excellent job of delivering patient care to the highest possible quality standards.”
CQC has written to all GP practices to apologise and to make them aware of the changes.
All GP intelligent monitoring reports will be updated next week to reflect the changes.
The text of the letter:
From the Care Quality Commission, 26 March 2015, Ref no: EC201
Update to GP Intelligent Monitoring
Today, the CQC advisory group of GP leaders and experts in GP data and quality met. A range of issues were discussed relating to CQC’s use of data to inform inspection and regulation. All parties are committed to the principle of the appropriate use of data to inform the regulation of general practice.
CQC has listened to the concerns of the GP profession and as a result it has agreed not to continue with the use of bandings for GP Intelligent Monitoring, as well as changing the language used to highlight variation between practices so that it does not imply a risk to patient safety. This was agreed at the CQC Board meeting yesterday and was favourably received by members of the advisory group.
The BMA, the RCGP and others had raised serious concerns with CQC on the use of data in producing “bands”, which were seen as a direct judgement of care. Concerns had also been raised about the use of the word “risk” when analysing variations in the data.
CQC has carried out a thorough review of GP Intelligent Monitoring analyses, including how the public uses this information, following the errors found last year in the original publication. CQC will be correcting GP Intelligent Monitoring reports to improve them, particularly around the analysis of variation between practices. These will be updated next week to reflect the changes needed.
What we published wasn’t right regarding the use of language around risk, and on the analysis of variation between practices. We apologise. We also acknowledge that bandings have been perceived as judgements about the quality of care. That was not our intent but today we confirm we are removing them for GP Intelligent Monitoring nonetheless.
In conclusion, we are at the beginning of a journey to use data effectively to regulate general practice. We will continue to improve and are committed to continuing productive and engaged discussions with GP stakeholders on our developing approach to regulation, which will continue to be underpinned by the appropriate use of data. CQC has listened to the concerns raised by the profession and are addressing those concerns.
David Behan, Chief Executive, Care Quality Commission
Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of General Practice, Care Quality Commission