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CAMHS won't see you now

Regulator chief promises crackdown on GPs

By Nigel Praities

The head of the Government's new healthcare regulator has said it will crack down on GPs, after it was forced to defend its remit during a parliamentary enquiry on patient safety.

The Patients' Association expressed concern to MPs on the Health Select Committee that the Care Quality Commission – which is due to launch next month – would ‘not be as robust' on patient safety as the Healthcare Commission.

But Care Quality Commission chair Baroness Young rebutted the claim, saying the wide remit of the organisation would help protect patient safety.

‘We will also be bringing GPs into registration, which will give us an opportunity to look at an area where safety as yet is not hugely examined. The information that is available on GP issues of error and omission is not as well developed as it is in, for example, acute provision, and we have also got stronger enforcement powers.

‘So I would find it really difficult to understand how the Patients Association feel that we are going to be a kind of limp rag,' she said to MPs.

Mr Michael Summers, vice-chair of the Patients Association, responded by saying it were concerned about the transition from the Healthcare Commission.

‘The CQC will be much larger and have greater control over other aspects. We have concerns they will not be able to deal with things sufficiently, but we are prepared to wait and see,' he said.

The comments came after researchers from the University of Birmingham questioned the competence of GPs, claiming 60% of complaints were due to errors in diagnosis.

When questioned by MPs on the Health Select Committee about these figures, GMC chief executive Mr Findlay Scott said they planned to launch an investigation.

‘I am aware of evidence about errors in primary care, the next stage in our research programme will go on to look at the probability that prescribing errors can be better explained in primary care, leading us to take appropriate action,' he said.

Baroness Young: promising tougher line on GPs Baroness Young: promising tougher line on GPs

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