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CQC Essentials: Areas looked at on inspections (key lines of enquiry)

A summary of the key lines of enquiry (KLOEs) used by CQC inspectors.

This article relates to the CQC key question: Is your practice well-led? 

Our inspection teams use a standard set of key lines of enquiry (KLOEs) to help us ensure that our inspections consistently look at what matters most.

The KLOEs directly relate to our five key questions that we ask of all services: are they safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led? The fundamental standards of care underpin our approach to inspecting and regulating GP practices.

The KLOEs are described in detail in our GP and Out-of-Hours provider handbook appendices and we present a summary here.

Prompts, population groups and characteristics

Each KLOE is accompanied by a number of questions that inspection teams will consider as part of the assessment. We call these ‘prompts’. Inspection teams use these to gather and record evidence to answer each KLOE.

As well as focusing on the five key questions, we always look at how services are provided to people in specific 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).

Our inspection teams use characteristics to guide their judgements when awarding ratings. These characteristics are outlined in the handbook appendices and describe what outstanding, good, requires improvement and inadequate care looks like for each of the five key questions.

Awarding ratings

Inspection teams base their judgements on all the available evidence, using the characteristics and their professional judgement. This link between KLOEs and population groups, the evidence gathered under them, and the rating judgements lies at the heart of our approach to ensuring consistent judgements on the quality of care.

In conclusion

To ensure GP practices provide care that is high quality and meets all aspects of the key questions it is important that they familiarise themselves with the full set of KLOEs, prompts and characteristics.

To summarise the areas our inspection teams look at under each KLOE we have produced a quick reference table. This lists each KLOE with a summary of the key areas covered by the prompts and should be read in conjunction with the full set of KLOEs in the provider handbook appendices.

More information

Professor Nigel Sparrow is senior national GP advisor and responsible officer at the CQC

More CQC resources

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