What to Expect from a CQC Inspection


What to Expect from a CQC Inspection





A visit from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) can bring with it a period of worry for medical practices. It is not always fully understood what an inspection will entail. The CQC, however, have published the following on what to expect when the visit takes place.


Before the inspection


4–6 weeks to go

• CQC will meet with your clinical commissioning group (CCG) and local NHS Area Team to share and discuss information about your practice and the other practices being inspected in your area.

2 weeks to go

• You will receive a letter from CQC to confirm your inspection and request information such as your statement of purpose and information on complaints, or serious or adverse incidents.

• The lead inspector will call you to introduce themselves and explain what happens next and the arrangements for the day. They will discuss the agenda for the day so that staff can be booked in advance.

• The CQC will send you a quantity of ‘comment cards’ for your patients to complete and posters to display in key areas to advertise the inspection and tell patients how to get in touch with CQC.

General preparation

• Read your provider handbook, including the appendices. It explains all you need to know about the inspection.

• Encourage your patients to complete the comment cards with their views. The CQC will want to hear from as many people as they can.

• The CQC want to limit the impact on your practice, but their inspection team will need to speak to members of your team on the day of inspection. The agenda will make clear who they need to speak to and for how long. Please make sure you have allowed time for these staff to meet with their team. Also, make sure there will be an area available for the inspection team to use on the day of their visit.


On the day of inspection


General information

• The size and composition of the inspection team will be tailored to your service. It will include a minimum of an inspector and a GP. The team may also include a practice manager or practice nurse and an Expert by Experience.

• The inspection will use a combination of interviews with staff and patients, and reviewing information the practice has, such as policies, procedures and data. The inspection team may also speak to other services linked to your service, for example, any care homes you have responsibility for.

What you will need to do

• At the start of the day, CQC will want you to tell them what your practice does that’s outstanding. They want to hear about what you’ve done to improve patient outcomes and experience, and the functioning of the practice.

• Help the inspection team to find evidence that your service is safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led. These are the five key questions they will ask.

What the CQC will do

• Speak to your staff and people who use your services.

• Collect and review the comment cards that people have completed.

Things to remember

• CQC is rating your service. They want to highlight examples of your good and outstanding practice, and help you to improve where you might have weaknesses.


At the end of the inspection


• The inspection team will hold a feedback session with you to share their initial thoughts about what they have found. Remember, this will not be their final thoughts, as they will need to consider their findings.


After the inspection


• The CQC will send you a draft inspection report. You will have the opportunity to challenge any factual inaccuracies you find at this stage.

• The CQC will be quality-assuring reports to ensure they’re consistent with how other GP practices or GP out-of-hours services have been inspected.

• They will publish the final quality report on the CQC website.

• When the CQC have published all the reports from your CCG area, CQC will meet again with the CCG and NHS Area Team to discuss any themes, learning points and actions that need to be taken.


The above content has been modified from a CQC document in June 2018. Since publication, the process of a CQC inspection may have changed. MidMeds cannot be responsible for any failings or changes related to your CQC inspection. If you have any queries, please contact the CQC.


Content from CQC