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GPC calls for Professor Steve Field's resignation 'forthwith'

The GPC has called for the resignation of the chief inspector of primary care, Professor Steve Field, at its meeting in London today. 

The motion says that the GPC ’has no confidence in the CQC’s current chief inspector of general practice’, and 'demands his resignation forthwith’, after he claimed that he was ’ashamed of GPs’.

It came right after the RCGP said Professor Field - a former RCGP chair - has ‘lost the confidence’ of GPs, and called for an apology.

Earlier in the week, Professor Field made a tirade of comments in the national media, claiming that he is ’ashamed’ to be a GP at times because of the care being offered by some practices.

He told the Daily Mail: ‘Sometimes we go into a surgery and it’s so bad we go to court the following day to close it down. As a practising GP, I’m quite ashamed that some of my colleagues are providing such poor care.’

Today, the GPC took the step of calling for his resignation. The motion - voted on by GPC members today - says: ’The GPC has no confidence in the CQC’s current Chief Inspector of General Practice and demands his resignation forthwith’.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, GPC chair, said: ’This motion demonstrates the dismay and anger felt by dedicated hardworking GPs across England following the recent unjustified comments made by the chief inspector of general practice at the CQC. 

’When the vast majority of practices are managing to maintain high quality care against all odds in the face of falling resources, staff shortages and rising patient demand, the chief inspector should be vocally supporting GP services and not undermining them.’ 

He added: ’It is clear that the CQC inspection regime is not fit for purpose. The current process is disproportionate, expensive and bureaucratic, and takes GPs and their staff away from spending time looking after their patients. It includes endless amounts of pointless paperwork, such as box ticking exercises aimed at scrutinising the details of internal practice meetings.

’The CQC has already had to perform a U-turn this year over its widely discredited risk banding programme which formed judgements before inspectors had even arrived at a practice.’

Dr Baker earlier said: ‘GPs are supportive in general of regulation, however the way Steve has gone about making misleading, unfounded and denigrating comments about the level of care that hard-working GPs provide to their patients is rapidly undermining the concept of regulation.’

She went on to add that as a result of Professor Field’s ‘sensationalist and non-evidenced claims’ about the how bad the level of patient care is, he has ‘clearly lost the confidence of the profession.’

‘He repeatedly makes sensationalist and non-evidenced claims about how bad the level of patient care is – which must inevitably scare patients,’ Dr Baker said.

‘As the chief inspector of general practice, Steve needs to be seen as being fair and impartial, but given the scaremongering comments he has made this is no longer the case. To be quite frank, he has now clearly lost the confidence of the profession.’


Readers' comments (84)

  • Vinci Ho

    I agree that there should be a reliable , transparent and accountable system to inspect standard of GP practices, hence identify the 'bad apples' . The fact that the head of CQC was exploiting these bad apples as example to generalise a conclusion that GPs had failed as a profession . The comment was derogatory , denigrating and disdainful and worst of all ,propagated through a well known GP-hated ,right-winged government PR media machine. It begs the question of whether this is part of the political mission to destroy general practice of this country in its current form?
    With some public authority and power ,the head of CQC must know his opinion can be very influential appealing to all groups in the society . Personally biased opinion with sensationalism is clearly irresponsible considering what he is representing .

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  • The words ego, air and head come to mind. Go batter another profession.

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  • The first problem with the CQC is that it makes quality judgments on things that can easily be measured rather than the things that matter most. The second is that it has no facilitative function. There are inevitably a few GPs and practices that are incompetent or even bad and these need dealing with. But the overwhelming majority are trying to produce a good service in spite of the constraints around them and the shortcomings of their own teams, individuals and resources. The CQC should be helping practices that underperform to develop and improve their services rather than slagging them off. When a patient drinks too much eats too much or fails to care for himself we don't tell him to go away and not darken our doorstep. We try to help him rebuild his life and turn himself around. That is what doctors are for. It looks as though Professor Field has forgotten this. The CQC has an attitude problem and it should have a GP leader that has the strength to change it.

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  • Took Early Retirement

    I quite liked the PN's comments. I think she was right. By the time I left GP, in the area where I worked, there were no "bad" doctors. I mean by that clinically incompetent or financially dishonest ones; everyone can have a bad day when the empathy well run dry.

    However, back 15 years and it was not always so. I had a patient who was a PN at a single-handed GP surgery. She told me (and I had no reason to doubt her) that she had to do the Saturday emergency surgery. (She was not a NP- they didn't exist then.) The GP left her a book of signed scripts; she would see the patient, ring GP with the story and he/she told her what to prescribe. By the time I heard this, the GP concerned had retired.
    This is the sort of shite care that went on in some places. Very few I would hope, and hopefully none now, though from what one hears it occasionally is happening.

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  • Maybe
    But what is going on when such divides are going on at the top

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  • I completely agree, an apology is definitely needed to the vast majority of GPs and their staff who are providing an excellent service in the context of unprecedented demand from patients. If no apology is issued I will lose confidence in the CQC as an impartial body.

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  • Took Early Retirement

    I wonder if she'll get it. Time for someone other than me to report him to the GMC for issuing statements likely to frighten patients.

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  • Field should go.
    Hunt should go as well

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  • This comment has been moderated.

  • He certainly has guts o is it just broad shoulders? Either way resignation now is probably the only way out - Wonder how supported his "partners" feel now! Certainly is looking like a GMC referral is needed!!

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  • Steve field should resign

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