CQC announce considerable increase in fees for GP practices

Following on from our last article, ‘GPs face significant increase in CQC fees‘, the CQC (Care Quality Commission) have recently announced the proposed increases for 2017/18, and GP leaders have labelled it as “scandalous”.

The proposed increases to the fees continue to fall in line with the Treasury’s requirement to recover its chargeable costs in full from all of its providers.

However, there are projected rises of up to 75%, meaning that general practices would have to pay £37.5 million as opposed to the current charge of £21.3 million, which could affect frontline care in England.

A rise in fees was inevitable – the last two years have also seen a rise in CQC fees – but CQC’s proposed increases this year represent a much more significant change than ever before. In 2014 GPs faced a 2.5% increase in fees; in 2015 the increase was 9%.

In our previous article, as highlighted above, we created a table of the proposed timescales for the proposed and estimated yearly fee increases, which you can see below:

GP CQC fee rises table

The new proposals (2017/18) state that a practice with a patient size of 5,000 (or less) would pay £3,845, which is an increase from £2,187. This is in fact a smaller amount to the one stated in the table however, is still a significant increase. A practice with a patient size of 15,000 or more would almost double, from £3,365 to £5,918.

Practices with more than one location would also see a considerable increase.

Practices with two sites currently pay £4,761, however this is set to increase under the proposals to £8,371. Those with five sites are set to see a £7,218 increase, from £9,518 to £16,736.

Dr Mark Sanford-Wood, BMA GP Committee CQC lead, said: “This is a scandalous proposed increase in fees that could see GP practices being charged an extortionate 76% rise in their CQC costs.”

“The CQC is planning to significantly reduce the scale of its GP inspections which should lower the cost of regulation. This makes the proposal to increase its fees inexplicable and wholly unjustified,” said Dr Sanford-Wood.

“These increases need to be halted so that precious NHS resources are spent on providing care to patients and not feeding the bureaucracy of the current regulation and inspection programme.”

The CQC said the origianl plans: “signalled that most sectors would have to move towards full cost recovery over a two-year period.”

The CQC added: “The fees paid by providers enable us to fulfil our purpose of making sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care. We will continue to look carefully at our costs, and to demonstrate that we are fair, efficient, effective and proportionate.”

Scott Sanderson, healthcare specialist at Hawsons, had this to say: “The increase in CQC fees is another blow to practice funding and a cost that is not directed towards the delivery of services to frontline patient care. However, the treasury have made it clear for some time now that its compliance costs are to be fully funded by service providers. It is worth noting that the increase in fees for 2017/18 is not as high as we predicted 12 months ago.”

The proposals are out for consultation until 11th January 2017 and will become effective on the 1st April 2017.

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Scott Sanderson

Scott Sanderson Partner

Scott Sanderson began his career with Hawsons and trained as a Chartered Accountant, becoming a partner in 2015, specialising in the healthcare sector and small businesses. For more details and advice, please contact Scott on [email protected] or 0114 266 7141.[/author_info]