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GPs must act as ‘guarantors’ for quality of hospital care, says Dorrell

The chair of the House of Commons Health Committee has backed the Francis Inquiry recommendation that GPs should take greater responsibility for monitoring the quality of hospital care on behalf of their patients.

In an exclusive interview with Pulse, Stephen Dorrell said that it was part of being a good GP to ensure that the ‘system as a whole’ offered good quality care. 

Mr Dorrell also said that he supported the idea of a new chief inspector of primary care, saying practices would benefit from an ‘external view’.

The Francis Inquiry into care at Mid Staffordshire Foundation NHS Trust concluded one of the reasons the failures went unnoticed was because local GPs only expressed ‘substantive concern’ after they were specifically asked by investigators in 2009.

They recommended GPs should have an independent ‘monitoring role’ to ensure hospitals are providing good quality care.

Mr Dorrell said he supported this recommendation. He told Pulse: ‘It’s the professional clinical staff of the health service who are the ultimate guarantors of the quality of patient care that’s delivered.’

He stated, ‘GPs need to be conscious of the care that is available to their patients from the system as a whole, as well as their own care.’

In response to the Francis Inquiry, health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced that he was considering plans for a chief inspector of primary care to be responsible for upholding standards and make the final call when a practice is failing.

Mr Dorrell agreed, but added that more regulation was not the only solution to improve care.

‘It’s very important to stress that the assessment of standards has a part to play.’

He added: ‘The real way to improve the quality of care is through the commitment and focus of professional clinical staff.’

Pulse Live: 30 April - 1 May, Birmingham

Pulse Live

Pulse Live offers practical advice on key clinical and practice business topics, as well as an opportunity to debate the future of the profession, and a top range of speakers includes NICE chair Professor David Haslam, GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey and the Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell MP, chair of the House of Commons health committee.

To find out more and book your place, please click here.

Readers' comments (9)

  • A politician taking the responsibility for anything.......... chance would be a fine thing.

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  • This sounds ODD to me, So we have Gp's working hard in their Surgeries, Sending patients to Hospital to be treated,,, Then they are expected to Visit the Hospital , AND TELL EVERYBODY WHAT TO DO.
    Have i got the wrong end of the stick? As i thought Hospital management were responsible, For Hospitals

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  • Looks like all the Politicians come out of the same frying pan, smelling of the same rancid stuff...'Pass-the-buck' tikka masala. Stephen Dorrell, who I thought for a brief moment may make some sense has shown his true credentials. GPs are working incredibly hard, trying to keep patients from unnecessarily wasting secondary care resources. Now they are being told, to slate the same secondary care in their spare time (where have I heard that before). Get real guys... lest we need to come around and trim your long noses !!!! I wonder who will guarantee they stay the right size !!

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  • GP will have to pay the CQC a lot of money to check their qualiry, will hospitals be paying GPs the same?

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  • So just let me see if I understand this fully:
    1. we are responsible for our own work in primary care
    2. we are responsible for the work of others in secondary care
    3. we are responsible for providing feedback on the NHS 111 debacle (despite neither asking for it, wanting it and having all concerns about it disregarded by the politicians)
    4. we are responsible for our out-of- hours provider services
    5. we are responsible for failures in social services
    6. we are responsible for every inappropriate action taken by specialist nurses that adversely affect patient care
    7. we are responsible for creating the benefits culture and abuse
    8. we are responsible for all that is wrong in this country...
    Does that about cover it?

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  • John Cleave | 10 April 2013 8:54pm

    I though the hospital consultants were responsible for patient care and treatment in hospital.

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  • Clearly the only thing to do is report any concerns about hospital care to CQC as they are the only body with any teeth. But what is their role if GPs are to be responsible?
    If there is a chief inspector of Primary care do they have the right to overule CQC who have taken an enormous amount of power to themselves?

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  • Grossly understaffed, demoralised, demotivated, depressed, overwhelmed - Francis report on hospital staff. Now we have to say they are under performing!!
    No, Sir, most hospital staff are working their socks off doing twice as much as they should 90% of the time. Double jeopardy - work twice as hard and get criticised for not doing enough because the Govt has cut staff to the bone.

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  • Could we establish the mechanisms - and calm down?
    I have been complianing/expressing concerns on a raft of issues in secondary care for a good many years - and the problem has always been that there is/were no place where it was recognised that concerns could/should be raised and no fedback on whether the communication had been received - from locality, PCO and NPSA levels - or whether this was regarde as a legitimate concern and whether - or not - any action would be taken.
    In fact, I was told to report to the PCT who would take any action necessary: sounded good - but I discovered later that nothing had been done: the *only* SUIs raised were about bedsores. Bedsores are important - but so are the concerns I, as a GP, had raised on behalf of my patients.

    I have a great deal of sympathy for doctors in secondary care - especially the training grades: when I qualified (in 1966) it was almost impossible for a junior training grade doctor to be responsible for any eror *because their consultant had the responsibility for their training and supervision*: no longer the case - if I raised concerns, it was always the fault of the juniors - who had moved on...

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