Annual Regulatory Review

A change in direction for GP Practices

Effective 1st April 2019: This currently applies to GP Practices only

Original Plan in 2018: ONLINE Provider Information Collection

What the CQC said in their Consultation 2

  • We will replace the existing provider information return with an annual online information collection. We will ask providers for information every year rather than as part of the preparation for an inspection, and will encourage them to keep it up to date.
  • This will be a live online process, rather than a form to collect information in the run-up to an inspection.
  • We intend to introduce an online provider information collection in 2018.

  • The online PIC has apparently been scrapped

  • No public consultation

  • All references to the online PIC have been removed from the CQC site.

New Plan 2019: INTERVIEWS Annual Regulatory Reviews

  • Every practice across the country will be subject to an annual review
  • Objective 1: To see if quality of care has changed since the last visit
  • Objective 2: To prioritise inspections where there has been greatest change

This review will determine whether an inspection is needed, when the next inspection should be, and which areas they will focus on.

Practice Managers and Registered Managers will now have to prepare for a live telephone interview.


Why this is a big change

An online form is a lot easier to do because:-

  • You choose the time
  • You can take as long as you want, no pressure
  • You can complete in stages, come back to finish when you can
  • You don't need to prepare as much, or you can look up gaps and come back to complete
  • You can complete as a team
  • Not stressful

Interviews are not so easy:-

  • You will be anticipating this for 4 weeks
  • You have to prepare for a focused one hour of questioning
  • Not everyone likes to be interviewed like this
  • Like preparing for a test, it might be stressful for some


To save time and complications, exercise care with the questions that are asked.

Many questions ask "Have to changed the way you do XYZ", which can be answered Yes/No and that's it.

Some questions are tricky "Have you introduced any changes to the service after reviewing your patient survey feedback?"
This is not a Yes/No. Instead of a No, you might want to say "We reviewed everything as always, but none required service changes"

How this will start

How this will work

  1. You will be given a 4 week notice to prepare
  2. This will be a telephone interview
  3. You will be asked a set of questions
  4. The call will last no longer than one hour

You will be asked these questions in the first telephone call

Have you made any changes to:

  • where you deliver services from (locations and branches)
  • the services you deliver (consider extended access)
  • who you deliver it with (consider federations)?

What about inspections every 5 years

2018 Previous wording

  1. The General Practice Forward View, in November 2017 said : We will introduce an inspection interval of up to five years for providers rated as good or outstanding.
  2. They also said: We will inspect a proportion of these providers every year in order for them all to be inspected within the period.

2019 New wording

  1. Notice issued in February 2019 says: They will only inspect a sample of good and outstanding practices each year with a maximum re-inspection timescale of five years.
  2. New Guidance revised in February 2019 says:
  • The usual maximum intervals for re-inspecting services depend on your rating (For Good or outstanding this maximum will be 5 years).
  • Every year, we will inspect a proportion of providers rated as good or outstanding. This is to make sure that they are all inspected at least once every five years.


  • The new wording introduces the term MAXIMUM INTERVAL. Although this sounds like a change, it really seems just a different way of describing the previous terminology "up to".
  • The old wording was clear that you could be inspected in less than 5 years but drew your focus to the words "five years" rather than the "up to".
    The new wording is probably more accurate in emphasising the word "Maximum" as this was the intention from the beginning.

Bottom line: Nothing has changed. The inspection interval will be anything from 1 year to 5 years depending on the inspector


Triggering inspections and ratings change

What will trigger an inspection

  • There has been deterioration in quality
  • There has been an improvement in quality

The inspection will focus on the area showing the largest change

Effect on your rating

This will not affect your rating. Ratings can only change at an inspection

Type of inspection triggered

For Good and Outstanding Practices

  1. In "most cases" this will be a focused inspection
  2. A focused inspection ALWAYS covers the key areas of Well-Led and Effective regardless of the focus
  3. They may inspect any of the other five key questions depending on what's on their files

By inference, all other practices will likely be inspected on all 5 key questions


Introductory Questions

You will be asked some specific questions about what you do at your practice.
Answers should be relatively brief summarising the key points. Many of your answers may be “no” - you can briefly elaborate on these if you choose to.
The call should last no longer than one hour.

DO NOT send any written responses to the questions or any additional documents to the inspector.

Introductory questions

  • Are there any issues that have affected your service and how you care for your patients?
    (These could include, for example, challenging circumstances or significant changes to your local population)
  • Have there been any changes in the management or leadership of your practice?
  • What is your organisation data service (ODS) code?

Questions on SAFE


  1. Have you changed how you keep policies and procedures up to date to make sure patients are safe?
  2. Have you changed how you respond to significant events?
  3. Have you changed your process for monitoring high risk medicines?
    (You can refer to a particular medicine or to your general management of patients on high-risk medicines)
  4. Have you changed how you report and respond to safeguarding concerns?
    (Include all vulnerable groups, both children and adults)

Questions on CARING & WELL-LED


  1. How many patients are on your carers register? (number)
  2. Are you doing anything new to identify and support carers?


  1. Have you changed how you work with local partners to continually learn and improve your service?
    (This could include your patient participation group, clinical commissioning group or local practices)
  2. Do you have a plan to improve your service?
  3. Have you changed your governance arrangements?

What is governance?

  • a systematic approach to maintaining and improving the quality of patient care and service delivery
  • led by senior practice members who understand their responsibilities and are accountable for practice performance
  • involves all staff members
 Have you changed the way you engage and involve your staff in improving the service?
  1. (For example, team away days, staff suggestion box or staff meeting minutes).
  2. Has your practice been involved in any innovations or pilots?

Questions on RESPONSIVE


  1. Have you introduced any changes to the service after reviewing your patient survey feedback?
    (These surveys could be the GP Patient Survey or your own practice surveys)
  2. Have you changed how you identify and meet the information and communication needs of people with a disability or sensory loss?
    (This relates to the Accessible Information Standard (AIS))

Accessible Information Standard (AIS)

All providers of NHS care or other publicly-funded adult social care must meet the Accessible Information Standard (AIS).

AIS applies to people who use a service and have information or communication needs because of a:

  • disability
  • impairment
  • sensory loss

Questions on EFFECTIVE


  1. Have you changed how you monitor the quality of your service?
  2. Are you using new or existing staff in different ways to provide clinical care to patients (apart from GPs)?
    (These roles could include nurses, healthcare assistants, pharmacists, paramedics, physician associates).
  3. Have you changed how you develop and use person-centred care plans?
    (This could include how you work in partnership with specialist nurses, social care colleagues and patients or their representatives)
  4. Have you changed how you monitor antibiotic prescribing?


Population groups

  1. Have you changed how you provide effective and responsive care for any of the population groups (give examples of how you meet their particular needs)?
The six population groups:
  • Older people
  • People with long-term conditions
  • Families, children and young people
  • Working-age people (including those recently retired and students)
  • People whose circumstances may make them vulnerable
  • People experiencing poor mental health (including people with dementia)

Concluding Question

Concluding question

  1. Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
    (This could be something you do that isn’t covered by our questions)

This is a brand new approach with no guidance or consultation to clarify what this means.
Issues to consider:

  • Is this a disclosure statement, are you meant to diclose any failures?
  • What if you don't, what is the consequence of non-disclosure
  • What exactly does "anything you would like to tell us" mean?