The CQC has developed a suite of clinical searches which are now routinely deployed when carrying out inspections of GP practices. They were designed to focus on areas of clinical importance, reflecting the profession’s agreed shared view of quality and to contribute to a consistent regulatory approach. The majority of the searches focus on safe prescribing, monitoring of higher risk drugs and identification of potential missed diagnoses. They identify cohorts of patients who may require further attention.

In order to be open and transparent about the regulatory processes, the CQC are working with Ardens as part of a 12-month pilot to create, review and deliver the searches. The searches and business rules are available free of charge for all GP practices.

Ardens will be making the searches available for EMIS Web and SystmOne GP practices and Cegedim Healthcare will be making them available for Vision GP practices.

The CQC searches have been specifically designed to identify potential significant risk and often have a degree of tolerance built into them, for example in relation to the intervals for monitoring medicines. They are not intended to be used (nor should they be) as a substitute for a practice’s own governance systems and processes for managing patient care, which should be designed to meet a gold standard in accordance with national guidance. For further information, please see GP Mythbuster 12: Accessing medical records during inspections

Accessing the searches

The searches will be made available from 31st May 2022.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are these reports going to be used for?
These searches can be used by GP practices to identify patients who are potentially at risk from not having care delivered in line with national guidance. These searches should not be relied upon by GP practices as their only governance process. With the practice consent, the CQC inspector and GP Specialist Advisor will run the searches, either remotely or on site during an inspection, and select searches from each category to review at least 5 patient records from.

Who will have access to these reports?
The results from these reports will be available for staff from your practice to review. The CQC inspection team will analyse the results and review a random sample of patient records. They will record the high level search results but no patient identifiable information will be exported. The results will not be shared with any other third party, including Ardens.

How will the search results be used in my inspection and who will be able to see this?
During your inspection, your inspector will ask the practice for consent to run these searches and use them for record reviews of particular patients and random patient sampling. They also will form the basis for conversations with the practice to further understand the results.

Why are CQC working with Ardens?
CQC use a suite of clinical searches that are routinely used to gather evidence in their GP inspections. CQC are not experts in EMIS Web and SystmOne and have therefore sought the support of Ardens to assist the delivery of these searches. This also ensures these searches are made easily available and transparent to practices.

Who are Ardens?
Ardens is a GP led organisation that offers clinical decision support tools to EMIS Web and SystmOne GP practices in England and are experts in configuring clinical systems, including searches.

Are the searches available to GP practices who do not use Ardens?
Yes. The searches are available free of charge to any GP practice who use EMIS Web, SystmOne or Vision.

Why were Ardens chosen?
After CQC spoke to a number of third party providers and following an approved selection process, Ardens were voted by an independent panel as the preferred CQC provider to support their clinical searches.

What is the relationship between CQC and Ardens?
The relationship is a partnership as part of a 12-month pilot. There is no charge from Ardens for their services.

What is Ardens role?
Ardens role is to assist in validating and deploying the routine CQC searches required as part of GP inspections to make the process easier for GP practices.

Are Ardens involved in deciding what is included in the suite of CQC searches?
No. Ardens are not involved in the decision process for selecting which searches are used as part of the inspection process, nor the specific criteria for each search either.

What is the intended benefit for GP Practices?
Ardens is asked regularly by GP practices for assistance with their CQC searches. By working with CQC to assist in the deployment of the searches, this is intended to make the inspection process as seamless and effortless as possible.

What do I do if I have any questions, feedback or think there is a problem with any of the searches?
For any of the above, including any suggestions of how you think the process can be improved or how we can help practices further, please just contact us