General practice delivering improvement and innovation says CQC

NEARLY 90 per cent of general practices in England have been rated as good or outstanding by the Care Quality Commission, making this the highest performing sector that the CQC regulates.

In a recent national report, the CQC found that at the end of its first inspection programme of general practices (when many had been re-inspected), 4 per cent were rated ‘outstanding’, 86 per cent were ‘good’, 8 per cent were ‘requires improvement’ and 2 per cent were ‘inadequate’ .

This is an improvement from the first ratings awarded to general practices (prior to any re-inspections), when overall 83 per cent were rated either as ‘outstanding’ (4 per cent) or 'good' (79 per cent).

The report also found that 82 per cent of the general practices that were first rated as ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ improved their rating following their most recent inspection.

Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of General Practice at the CQC, said: "This is the first time that we have such a detailed national view of the quality of general practice in England, made possible through CQC’s regulation. Having inspected and rated 7,365 general practices across the country, we have found that the clear majority are safe and of a high quality. Where we identified concerns, most practices have taken action and improved. GPs, practice managers and other primary care staff should be commended for their efforts."

Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee chair, commented: "This report shows that general practice consistently receives the highest ratings for the quality and safety of care delivered to the public despite the unprecedented and growing pressures on GP services throughout England.

“These positive results are undoubtedly down to the hard work of GPs and practice staff, but many are in an environment where they are increasingly struggling to deliver effective care to their local communities. A recent BMA survey found a majority of GPs in England are considering temporarily closing their practice list to new patients because of the impact of soaring demand, stagnating budgets and widespread staff shortages. A third of GP practices have vacancies that have remained unfilled for 12 months while nine out of ten GPs believe their workload is often unmanageable. The CQC process itself remains overly bureaucratic and continues to result in GPs spending time filling in paperwork when they should be treating patients.

"In this climate, it is important that any GP practices deemed to be struggling are given the necessary support so that any issues can be addressed. More widely, the government needs to tackle the mounting crisis facing GPs, not least as the report concludes that a strong general practice is vital to the overall performance of the rest of the NHS."

Link: The state of care in general practice 2014 to 2017