Monthly column for providers and professionals working in primary medical and dental services from Dr Rosie Benneyworth, Chief Inspector of Primary Medical Services and Integrated Care

In this month’s column, I want to share some early feedback following the introduction of the provider information collection in general practice and also reflect on the findings of the recent Panorama programme into Whorlton Hall.

Panorama and our independent review

I want to reflect on the Panorama programme many of you would have watched this month. It was a sickening, distressing watch and raised many questions about how this could still be happening 8 years after Winterbourne View. You can view our full statement online.

It is clear now that we missed what was really going on at Whorlton Hall, and we are sorry. We recognise that the type of ‘closed culture’ revealed in the programme is not how people with a learning disability or autism should be cared for. A new approach needs to be taken to ensure that people have the services in place within the community to stop situations leading to people being supported in isolated care a long way from home. These findings were evident in our recently published Interim report on Restraint, Segregation and Seclusion.

We have commissioned independent reviews into the regulation of Whorlton Hall. The full terms of reference for both independent reviews will be published on our website and the findings of the reviews will be presented at our public board meetings.

Provider information collection and annual regulatory review process in general practice

In April we introduced an annual provider information collection for practices rated good or outstanding. The purpose of the provider information collection is to help us and practices provide context to all other information CQC has access to in order to make a decision about whether we need to inspect, what we should focus on, and when this should be.

We brought in this process as an annual telephone call with GP practices, where they are asked a set of questions. These calls are not inspections, they are a conversation about changes in quality that underpin the development of the relationship between a practice and inspector.

Early evaluation of the process suggests that both the practice, and the inspector are benefiting from these conversations. They are enabling practices to share contextual information about the environment in which they operate, as well as championing their work and they are improving the intelligence that our inspectors hold about practices within their portfolio.

We will fully evaluate the process with practices and inspectors in due course, but I wanted to share one piece of feedback that we received following a call:

“We found the call to be a good experience and felt that we were given plenty of time to answer and discuss our responses to the set questions not only beforehand but also on the actual day itself. The prospect of a long time on a call seems quite daunting but once it starts and you get into the swing of it the time goes quite quickly.

“The GP and I both said at the end that we were glad that the other person was there to contribute. Overall I would say it was quite enjoyable and was an opportunity to talk about what we do at the practice and to hopefully put across how passionate we are about what we do and about how we value our patients and our staff alike.”

We are continuing to hear similar positive experiences, and learn more about the great work you do as practices as a result of these calls. If you have any feedback on the calls and the process, please do share with your inspector.

Have a great month everyone.


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