Majority of GP practices rated good by CQC

OVER three-quarters of 75 GP practices visited by CQC under its new inspection programme have been rated as "Good", with three rated as "Outstanding".

Ten practices were rated as "Requires Improvement" and five judged "Inadequate".

Under CQC’s new programme of inspections all of England’s GP practices will be rated according to whether they are safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led.

Three of the five practices rated "Inadequate" have been placed into special measures and all have been offered a package of support by NHS England to help them improve. The other two practices have been told they will be put into special measures if they fail to improve.

CQC has been working with NHS England and the Royal College of General Practitioners to develop a pilot programme of intensive support to practices that are placed in special measures. If those practices still fail to make progress, their registration will be cancelled.

Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of General Practice, said: "So far we have published ratings on 143 practices – of which the vast majority have been Good or Outstanding. It is disappointing that we have found any to be Inadequate, but it is important that those practices are offered help at the earliest opportunity to improve.

"We will only cancel the registration of a GP practice if we think it is absolutely necessary – and in any case our priority will be to help the practice improve, if that is appropriate. In these situations we will work closely with NHS England who will ensure that people registered at that practice continue to have access to safe and high quality general practice."

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the RCGP, commented: "Every patient has a right to expect high quality and consistent care from their local GP practice, and it is crucial that we urgently address any variations in quality of care. But it is essential to remember that the vast majority of GP practices that have been inspected are providing excellent patient care.

"In some cases, practices can find themselves in difficulty due to factors beyond their control, such as lack of funding, significant increases in patient consultations and difficulties in trying to recruit sufficient GPs to meet patients’ needs - not because they are uncaring."

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