MPs "remain far from convinced" the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is up to the "major challenge" of registering and assessing England's 10,000 GP practices from next April.
In a scathing report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), MPs warn the regulator could become little more than a 'postbox' for GP applications if it doesn't ensure "meaningful" and "robust" assessments are carried out.
They note the CQC's inspection work has typically "suffered" when having to register a large group of providers.
In light of the noted issue, GP practices will be responsible for declaring whether or not they are meeting the CQC's 'essential standards' – meaning that registration will primarily be decided on the information provided by the practices themselves – a process MPs claim carries risks.
"We are far from convinced that the CQC is up to the major challenge of registering and assessing 10,000 GP practices this year," said Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of PAC.
"Registration will now be decided on the basis of information from GPs themselves and there is a risk that the CQC will simply become a postbox. Unless the assessment of GP practices is meaningful and robust the Commission cannot be sure that basic standards of quality and safety are being met."
In response to the PAC report, a spokesperson from the CQC said it is "on track" to deliver GP registration and assessment successfully by April 2013.
They claim GPs will be subjected to the same risk-based model of compliance monitoring and inspections as the rest of the NHS and social care.
In other news, the CQC announced yesterday that all but one of the country's 48 out-of-hours medical providers have now been registered with the regulator, with no registered provider receiving any compliance conditions.
"The CQC registration. Is beyond the GPS and they can close a lot of Surgeries. Down due to the staffing levels and the working practice of the Gps and the surgery." - Laura, Eastbourne