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Standards vs Access
For the first time, GP practices are being required to register with the Care Quality Commission. The CQC will require GP practices to register with them by April 2013. On the face of it, this is a good thing, as it offers an assurance that certain minimum standards are being met by services. However, the new requirements present some potential issues in terms of access for people living in rural areas.
There are a number of GP practices currently operating in village halls in more remote parts of the county. It may be more difficult for these practices to comply with the new regulations. For example, it may be particularly challenging to meet standards around infection control and confidentiality.
It might be argued that, if practices cannot meet the CQC’s standards, they should not be operating, and should be consigned to a bygone era, but if that results in fewer local GP’s in rural areas, and poorer access for patients, there’s a question for their patients about whether the price is worth paying.