Medical indemnity experts are worried that a government decision to allow GPs to postpone statutory registration with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) might create even more problems.
While the Medical Defence Union, which represents over 50% of UK GPs, has welcomed the decision to defer registration, it says the proposed new date, April 2013, clashed with other big regulatory and management changes facing the profession.
The MDU’s head of advisory services, Dr Mike Devlin said: “We supported the decision to postpone GP registration with the CQC so that the process could be streamlined. We hope lessons will be learned from the problems encountered with the registration by CQC of providers of primary dental care, where only 1,107 of over 9,000 practices were registered by the end of March 2011.
“However, the next couple of years will bring considerable administrative challenges for GPs, with the introduction of revalidation planned for 2012 as well as the proposed commissioning changes set out in the Health Bill to begin in 2013.
“If GPs were required to register with CQC at the same time as they are expected to provide all the information required for revalidation, we believe this would impose an unnecessary and potentially insupportable regulatory burden on them and on their practice. Of course, the public must be protected but it would seem counter-productive to schedule mandatory registration with CQC for a time at which it is already clear there will be other equally pressing demands on GPs’ time.
“In this spirit, we also believe that primary care practices that provide out of hours care as part of their services should only have to register with the CQC once, for all the services they provide, and that it would be sensible for this to be at the same time as other GPs.
“We hope that the government’s talk of ‘joined-up registration’ is a reality, not just a slogan, and any plans for regulation of GPs will be proportionate and fair. Of course, MDU members will be able to turn to us for help and support with CQC registration to make the process as easy as possible.”