The Health and Social Care Act 2008 requires all GP practices to be registered with the Care Quality Commission by April 2013. The first stage of registration is enrolment. Practices will be asked to enrol when the online enrolment system opens to GPs in July 2012.
It is a fairly simple process, but practices should familiarise themselves with the system and the information it requires before completing the online enrolment form.
The enrolment process will begin when you receive a letter from the CQC containing a unique identifier and website address for enrolment. These are used to set up your account and request a user ID and password to access the system. You should do this as soon as the letter arrives to give you the maximum time to complete the registration application.
When setting-up your account you will be asked to choose one of four deadlines for enrolment between September and December 2012.
Larger practices may find that enrolment letters have been sent to all surgeries in the group. Each surgery may have a different unique identifier. If one of these letters is addressed to a branch surgery, you will need to contact the CQC to ask them to merge the two applications.
Decisions about the structure of your application are important at this point because the information you provide will be used to determine your registration fee.
Larger clinical sites may be required to have their own registration, whereas smaller branch surgeries should be listed as ‘locations’ or satellites of a larger practice under a single registration.
Once you have logged on to the enrolment website and requested your user ID and password, you are ready to access the system.
The system allows you to save your progress so far when entering information on the form so that you can complete one section at a time and come back to complete other sections at a later date.
The system will refresh itself every 30 minutes, so it is wise to save progress regularly to avoid losing information already entered.
The landing page will have a dashboard showing you the different sections of the registration application process. A form will open when you click on each section, allowing you to enter the information required.
The sections you will be asked to complete are responsible individual, practice location(s) and regulated activities.
The responsible individual (also referred to as the registered manager) is the person with full-time responsibility for the day-to-day running of the practice. You can nominate the same person as responsible individual for more than one location, as long as geography does not prevent day-to-day involvement.
Once you have identified the responsible individual, you will need to enter their details on the online system. This is so they can be contacted by the CQC after enrolment to arrange a short telephone interview.
You will be asked to list all practice locations that you wish to include your application. This will typically include a main location and any branch surgeries or other locations from which your practice provides regulated activities.
You will then be asked to list the regulated activities carried out at each location. This determines ‘scope of registration’. The activities you declare may be different at each location depending on the services you provide there.
Examples of a regulated activity might be: treatment of disease, disorder or injury; diagnostic and screening procedures; surgical procedures. A full list of regulated activities is given on the enrolment form. You will be asked to check a box against the regulated activities being provided at each location.
CQC action plan
Once you have completed the main body of the form you will be asked to make a declaration of compliance against each outcome in the CQC framework for all regulated activities at each location.
Where the practice does not declare itself as compliant, you will be asked to provide a short summary action plan detailing how you intend to become compliant with that outcome by 1 April 2012.
All outcomes are listed in the Essential Standards for Quality and Quality and Safety.
When your application for registration has been submitted and has been accepted, you will be sent a letter with your CQC registration number. The practice will then enter a two-year self-assessment cycle, during which time an inspection may take place.
The challenge during this period is to ensure you have evidence in place demonstrating the outcomes you have declared the practice is delivering.
- Graham Knight is senior associate at business support company, Res Consortium Limited, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.resconsortium.com