Online GP providers to be required to display ratings

INDEPENDENT doctors offering primary care online will now be rated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and required to display inspection ratings so patients can clearly see safety standards.

The change, announced by the Department of Health following a public consultation, means that for the first time all healthcare organisations in England that offer regulated care will be rated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and rquired to display their inspection ratings.

The CQC’s current ratings programme – which covers hospital care, social care and GPs – will be extended to include more than 800 additional providers, including those offering medical advice and prescriptions from GPs online.

The CQC will require providers affected by these changes to publicly display their rating, for instance on their website or business premises. This will allow patients to make an informed choice when deciding which care service they want to use. It is intended to reassure patients who use digital GP apps provided by independent doctors about the quality and safety of the service they are choosing.

The DoH says the ratings scheme has also been “future-proofed” to cover developing services.

Sir David Behan, Chief Executive of the Care Quality Commission, said: "CQC’s ratings of health and care services are helping people to make informed choices about their care as well as supporting providers to improve.

"CQC already inspects and publishes reports for these additional services. The ability to award ratings to them will bring increased transparency for the public about the quality and safety of their healthcare."

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