The CQC has decided to pause re-inspections of ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ GP practices for the month of January.
It is also pausing inspections of GP out-of-hours services, urgent care centres, NHS 111 and hospital trusts with ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ ratings.
The watchdog said this was in response to NHS providers having to cope with additional demand driven in part by a rise in respiratory illness and flu.
But they added that re-inspections of services rated ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ will continue as scheduled, while inspections to follow up on concerns will be unaffected.
Announcing the move, CQC chief executive Sir David Behan said it comes as ‘the entire health and social care system is at full stretch’ and ‘now an increase in respiratory illness and flu has further intensified this pressure’.
He said: ‘To support the system as much as possible, we are rescheduling some routine inspections of services. This is to allow frontline staff and leaders to focus on continuing to ensure that people receive safe, high-quality care during this period of increased demand.’
And he added that it was ‘important to reiterate that these pressures do not originate with and are not restricted to emergency departments, or to NHS acute trusts’.
The CQC said its normal inspection schedule is ‘expected to resume in February’ but will be ‘subject to review based on close monitoring of system performance’. It said inspections deferred during January would be ‘rescheduled as soon as possible’, with providers to be contacted directly about any changes to planned inspections.