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CQC withdraws GP monitoring system

A banding system for GP practices has been withdrawn after the BMA raised concerns about ‘damaging’ judgements related to care.

Cramped premisesThe CQC (Care Quality Commission) has also apologised to GPs for the use of language in the GP intelligent monitoring bandings, which implied a risk to patients.

It said it was pulling the six band system for intelligent monitoring after the BMA and Royal College of GPs expressed concerns about the bandings.

Responding to the regulator’s decision, BMA GPs committee deputy chair Richard Vautrey said: ‘The apology from CQC and recognition of the need to change the way they use data about practices is to be welcomed and comes after strong pressure from the GPC in which we highlighted the fundamental flaws of their system and the damage it had unfairly done to the reputation of hard-working practices.

‘It is good that CQC has at last listened to the concerns raised by the profession and is taking steps to address those concerns. 

'They must ensure that data is used appropriately and that the correct information is used with the media and the public.’

Accurate assessments

Dr Vautrey added that the GPC would now work with the CQC to explore better ways to assess the quality of care practices are providing.

In their email to GPs, CQC chief executive David Behan and chief inspector of general practice Steve Field said: ‘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.’

They said the CQC would also look at how the public use the information and improve the reports particularly around the analysis of variation between practices.

‘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,’ their email said.