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Innovation in general practice and regulation

Posted: 19th May 2022

In collaboration with Care Quality Commission (CQC) we have published findings from our research into how GP practices use innovative methods to address local health inequalities. The work will inform CQC’s developing regulatory approach so that it can better recognise and encourage innovation.

This project has been made possible by a grant from the £3.7 million Regulators’ Pioneer Fund, launched by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The fund enables UK regulators and local authorities to help create a UK regulatory environment that unleashes innovation and makes the UK the best place to start and grow a business.

To get a broad range of input, we have conducted a literature review, direct engagement with GPs and their practice teams, roundtable discussions with external stakeholders, and spoke with people who use services and carers.

Tackling inequalities in health and care is central to CQC’s new strategy, along with understanding how providers in local systems are working together to improving outcomes for everyone in their area.

As well as taking what has been learned from this project into its developing regulatory approach, CQC will be publishing an online resource later this year to help GP providers demonstrate their innovation to the regulator.

Richard Stubbs, CEO of Yorkshire & Humber AHSN commented: “This project is a welcome and useful step towards the goal of addressing health inequalities and improving access to services for all. An environment that champions innovation and encourages new ways of working is fundamental if we want to empower healthcare professionals to find effective solutions to tackle those challenges. Primary care plays a key role in identifying and responding to the specific needs of their local communities and I’m really pleased to see projects like this being introduced across our system.”

The findings of the research also revealed how primary care and primary care networks (PCNs) should work more closely with other NHS partners at Integrated Care System (ICS) level, utilising their collective data and intelligence on the needs of the local community to deliver a better joined-up local service. Therefore, these insights will likely support ICSs to shape their emerging strategies to tackle health inequalities and further develop their Population Health Management initiatives.

Dr Rosie Benneyworth, Chief Inspector of Primary Medical Services and Integrated Care at the Care Quality Commission, said: “GPs and practice teams up and down the country have unique and invaluable insight into the needs of the people in their community. As a regulator, it is vital that we do everything we can to recognise the way they use this understanding to develop new and innovative ways of working that deliver good, person-centred care. Thanks to everyone who took part, this project will help to shape the future of regulation and the role it can play in supporting and recognising innovation.”

You can read the findings from the report here

If you would like more information about this project, please contact