CQC Case Law Digest

Care Quality Commission Case Law for Doctors – 

Doctors Defence Service digests of CQC case law:-

Judge Upholds MPT IOT Decision to Suspend Doctors Who continued to provide care in a GP Practice Despite a CQC Suspension of Operation Being in Place:

In Dr Belinda Agoe and Dr Kausar Ali v General Medical Council [2020] EWHC 39 (Admin); [2020] 1 WLUK 77 – the Care Quality Commission suspended the operation of a GP Practice due to a number of concerns relating to the safe operation of the practice. The case eventually went to a magistrates court where the practice’s registration was terminated. The case later proceeded and to the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) where the termination was upheld. The GMC referred the doctors to an interim orders tribunal (IOT), having received a complaint from NHS England. The IOT imposed an interim suspension of the doctors’ registrations for a duration of 12 months, while the GMC investigated the case further. The doctors appealed that decision.  The High Court upheld the decision to suspend the doctors’ registrations, on the basis that the history of events were clear and that the tribunal had acted lawfully. (January 2020)

The case demonstrates the importance of doctors adhering to other regulators’ decisions to avoid subsequent regulatory proceedings, however unfair the CQC decision may feel to the doctors involved.

The GMC Registrar’s Powers:

In Dr Waghorn v Care Quality Commission [2012] EWHC 1816 (Admin), the doctor appealed a conviction under section 11(1) of the Care Standards Act. The Act reads: “Any person who carries on or manages an establishment or agency of any description without being registered under this Part in respect of it (as an establishment or, as the case may be, agency of that description) shall be guilty of an offence.” The doctor had performed surgery (liposuction) without being registered personally with CQC. He argued that he did not need to be. However, during a visit by CQC, he was found to be conducting surgery alone, without an anaesthetist, in the basement of a clinic not registered to him – while not working for the clinic. The court held that “it was not parliament’s intention to permit an unregistered [with CQC] working entirely on his own, to perform an invasive surgical procedure on a patient on an ad hoc basis, in a one room hospital, owned and managed by another or other persons unknown, and yet escape the reach of section 11(1) of the Act“. (July 2012) [Read Full Law Report]

CQC’s Representations Process must be Fair:

In SSP Health v Care Quality Commission (CQC) [2016] EWHC 2086 (Admin) a GP practice successfully challenged CQC’s refusal to re-examine concerns where an inspector had not dealt properly with representations made in response to a CQC inspection report, that it was alleged was inaccurate. The High Court held that the process that had been adopted by CQC was unfair and that there should have been an independent review of the concerns raised. This case law underpins the need for CQC to operate fair procedures within its inspection regime.  (August 2016)

Further Reading: 

CQC’s Published List of Successful Prosecutions of Regulated Organisations

Wikipedia’s Summary of CQC Regulation

For legal representation in relation to any Care Quality Commission (CQC) matter, call Doctors Defence Service on 0800 10 88 739

See our CQC Legal Representation page.

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