The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has not ruled out giving a notice period of one month for routine inspections of GP practices.
Following a survey of 100 GPs carried out by the Family Doctor Association (FDA), 10 days was found to be the minimum notice period that is currently being tested by the CQC which was deemed acceptable by GPs
However, when asked how much notice they would want for CQC inspections 67% of practices said a minimum of one month, 12% said two months, 9% said three months, and 12% said three to six months.
As a result of the survey findings the FDA has demanded a minimum notice period of one month is given for routine inspections with the right to negotiate a date.
It is claimed a longer notice period is needed "to free up time to accompany inspection".
The association, however, "fully accepts" inspections where there is a reasonable cause for concern "should be possible without notice".
The CQC is busy testing various notice periods ahead of its GP registration deadline. They are: no notice, 48 hours notice, 4 days' notice or 10 days' notice.
Speaking specifically on the FDA's demand for a minimum of one month's notice, a CQC spokesperson said the regulator would need to assess the results of the trials before coming to a final decision.
"The length of notice given to GP practices is an area that the Care Quality Commission is testing as part of its inspection pilot," said the spokesperson from the CQC.
"Most other services registered with CQC receive no notice period when we carry out an inspection. To ensure our inspections do not impact on patient care during inspections a variety of notice periods are being tested, from no notice up to a 10 day notice period.
"The Family Doctors Association are represented on our advisory group for GP registration where their views where fed into what should be tested as part of the inspection pilot. This includes what notice period we should test."