The Royal College of GPs has called on the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to address the impact of its inspections on GPs from Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities.

The RCGP Council recently heard debate that included BAME GPs’ lived experiences of having their practices inspected by the CQC and members voted to support all three parts of a motion to to ensure BAME GPs are well supported.  

The first part was to share details of any previous or ongoing and/or planned studies and data to explore whether or not there is evidence of the conduct or outcomes of its inspections being affected by the ethnicity and country of qualification of practising GPs.

The second was to work with the RCGP (at Officer level and involving representatives from the College’s BAME Task and Finish Group) to discuss how the availability and transparency of such information can be improved, and to ensure that BAME GPs’ experiences of being regulated by the CQC are heard.

Associations between the outcomes of inspections and ethnicity or country of qualification of the GP partners

Finally, they have asked for the commission for an independent review of inspections of GP practices rated ‘requires improvement or inadequate’ over the past five years - including those practices which have been closed down due to CQC regulations. This was to assess if there is an association between the outcomes of inspections and ethnicity or country of qualification of the GP partners, and taking into account considerations such as population size, number of doctors and levels of deprivation in the communities they serve.

If an association is found, the Council motion calls for the reasons to be explained with a view to tackling evidence of less favourable treatment of BAME GPs and their practices, thereby improving transparency in its processes and building confidence in the CQC.

Council also recognised the invaluable and magnificent contribution of BAME GPs to general practice and patient care and reflected its belief that the strength of the profession is in its diversity.

College Vice Chair for External Affairs Gary Howsam also recently wrote to the CQC with a number of questions and concerns raised by some College members relating to CQC inspection activity, particularly the impact on GPs from BAME communities. 

Dr Howsam said: “The College’s BAME Action Plan commits us to delivering positive change for all our Black Asian and Minority Ethnic members and we will continue to work constructively with the CQC towards an improved system of inspection that is supportive of GPs and keeps patients safe as we move away from the immediate crisis of the pandemic and into recovery.”