GPs face increase in CQC fees by 2017/18

GP practices could be hit by a massive increase in Care Quality Commission fees by 2017/18 under proposed plans to claw back its full chargeable costs from providers.

Care Quality Commission fees for a GP practice with 5,000-10,000 registered patients that operates at one location must rise from £725 to £4,839, it has been reported. This could happen over two years – by 2017/18 – or over four years.

The Department of Health has pledged a £15m funding boost for GPs in 2016/17 intended to mitigate the rising costs practices will face, although officials are not yet able to confirm whether further funding will be made available in subsequent years.

The Care Quality Commission is currently funded through grant-in-aid from the Department of Health in addition to provider fees, but government policy dictates that fee-setting regulators must recuperate their costs fully through fees income. Fee income for providers this year will account for under 51% of the £224m a year the Care Quality Commission spends on its registration functions.

The watchdog is now holding a consultation to decide on which of two ‘timescale’ strategies it will adopt to recover full chargeable costs from providers, which will see it attaining full recovery over two years or over four years.

This news was timely following the Special Local Medical Committee Conference which took place last weekend. The position of the Department of Health is in stark contrast to the concerns raised and suggestions made by LMCs across the country ranging from the abolition of Care Quality Commission regulation of General Practice through to a bar on Care Quality Commission fee increases along with the full reimbursement of Care Quality Commission fees to Practices.

The looming increase in Care Quality Commission fees and oppressive nature of the regulatory regime (at least in its current form) has been a political time bomb for some time now and the Department of Health has so far failed to address Practices’ concerns. We are waiting with baited breath for a response from the Department of Health to the issues raised.

If you require any further information, one of our team of healthcare specialist lawyers would be pleased to talk through your requirements and answer any questions. Please contact us at any time

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