All health organisations will have to comply with a new set of 18 safety and quality standards under proposals unveiled in a Department of Health consultation this week.
Health and social care bodies will have to meet the legally enforceable standards in order to register with the new super-regulator.
This would include GP practices, which currently do not have to register with the Healthcare Commission unless they are wholly private.
NHS Alliance chair Dr Michael Dixon said he was in favour of the plans, as they would bar "under par" GP practices from working in the NHS.
"It's difficult at the moment for medical directors to do anything about them [substandard GP practices]," he said.
The Medical Protection Society, which offers indemnity advice to health professionals, said the registration requirements would make "onerous" and "intrusive" demands on GPs. MPS medical director Dr Priya Singh said: "GP practices already face tough regulatory measures: the quality and safety of surgeries are subject to monitoring by primary care trusts and practices providing NHS services have a contractual obligation to meet certain standards. Adding yet another layer of regulation may be a needless duplication."
Under one scenario, all GP practices and dental practices would have to register. This would save PCTs up to£13m, according to an accompanying impact assessment. Another option is to register only practices that conduct more complex services, which would save PCTs£2m.
The consultation follows the publication of the Health and Social Care Bill last November. The bill outlined plans to create the Care Quality Commission out of the existing Healthcare Commission, Commission for Social Care Inspection and Mental Health Act Commission by October 2009.
The new registration requirements include broad statements such as "making sure people get the care and treatment that meet their needs safely and effectively" and "safeguarding people when they are vulnerable".