Procedures and protocols: CQC requirements

GP practices' procedures and protocols form a key part of a CQC inspection. This will include procedures around drug and vaccine management, patient records, certain aspects of patient care and organisational issues.

CQC inspectors will want to see that practices have robust systems in place to ensure patients receive safe, high quality care during an inspection. Practice procedures and protocols will be key to their assessment of this.

GP practices will have many protocols and procedures in place and the list below is not exhaustive. This section of CQC Essentials focuses in particular on procedures realting to drug, prescription and vaccine management; patient records; aspects of patient care including chaperones, consent and test results; procedure relating to patient deaths; and business continuity.

The following sections of the CQC Essentials series also contain information relating to procedures:

Drugs, vaccines and prescriptions procedures

  • Emergency drugs for GP practices
    The emergency drugs that the CQC expects to be available to GPs in their practices and in the doctors' home visit bag, plus information about stock management and review.
  • Prescriptions in dispensing practices
    The CQC explains the processes practices should have in place if a GP in a dispensing practices sends a prescription to the dispensary, which is then dispensed before it's signed.
  • Security of blank computer prescription forms
    This article summarises the current guidance on the security of blank computer-generated prescription forms, explains what the CQC will expect to see during an inspection and provides some practical points for practices to consider.
  • Vaccine storage and fridges in GP practices
    The CQC will expect practices to be following current guidance on ordering, storing and handling vaccines during its inspections of GP practice. This includes ordering and receipt of vaccines, stock management, the vaccine fridge, the 'cold chain' and data monitoring.
  • Management of controlled drugs
    The safe management of controlled drugs (CDs) has been the subject of discussion in many of the practices CQC has visited. This article summarises the current requirements and provides some practical guidance for practices.

Patient records & patient registration procedures

  • Summary Care Records (SCRs)
    The CQC will see evidence of use of summary care records as an indicator of a practice's efforts to improve patient safety and quality of care.
  • Patient registration
    The CQC expects practices to meet their duties around providing emergency and immediately necessary treatment - practices only have limited discretion about whether to register an individual.

Policies relating to patient care

  • Chaperones
    This article highlights good practice around chaperone use in general practice and what the CQC will expect to see during an inspection.
  • Safe and reliable management of test results
    The CQC will expect to see evidence that you have a robust, effective and safe system to manage test results during an inspection. This article explains what this system should involve.
  • Prioritising home visits
    Practices should have a system in place to prioritise home visits and inspectors will want to see evidence of this during a CQC inspection.

Procedures relating to patient deaths

  • Who can confirm death?
    The CQC summarises key guidance on confirming death in cases where the death was expected and unexpected. 
  • Death notifications
    Information explainng when GP practices should inform the CQC of a death that occurred while a person is receiving care from the practice.

Organisational procedures

More CQC resources

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