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Dr Beth McCarron-Nash: 'The CQC's tone was disproportionate and inflammatory'

The CQC press release was completely inappropriate - and highly inflammatory to GPs, the vast majority of whom are providing an excellent service to their patients, says Dr Beth McCarron-Nash.

I am livid, is probably the best way of describing it. I am sick and tired of hearing this rubbish, and from a former professor of our Royal College I would have expected better. I am extremely disappointed, because the tone of the press release in my view was not appropriate. It was disproportionate and it was inflammatory.

I am angry to see general practice portrayed this way in the media when we are talking about a small handful of practices which are struggling. Obviously, if they are not providing acceptable standards of care that is something that needs to be addressed - but in many cases PCTs have known about issues for years and done nothing about it.

Also, there are often different, and complex, reasons why practices are struggling. Often they have had no investment in their premises, year on year. There has been defunding of general practice and the playing field isn’t level.

Set against this, I am not at all surprised that there are isolated incidences [of unacceptable standards] but to have this smeared across the press that general practice is failing, and that patients are at risk, is completely disproportionate.

It is disgraceful, and not the way this organisation should be going about its business. It is completely unacceptable to set this tone.

It is also unnecessary and not in the best interest of our patients. These issues concern a very small number [of practices] and – let’s face it – this is scaremongering and completely inappropriate.

Professor Steve Field could have taken this opportunity to defend general practice, and to explain why many of us are struggling to cope with increased demand from an ever more complex ageing population with ever-flailing resources.

As you can imagine, the GPC negotiating team is not impressed [and] this will not go unchallenged.

Dr Beth McCarron-Nash is a GPC negotiator and a GP in Cornwall

Readers' comments (16)

  • Well said Dr Nash, couldn't have said it better. At a time when the government is squeezing resources and demanding more from GPs, the message that GPs are not up to standard is completely contradictory with what they are telling us to do ! Scaremongering is not in our patient's best interest when we are promoting preventive medicine and self care. GPs are at the boiling point and if the pressure continues to rise then something will give ! Enough is enough !

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  • Could he be accused of bringing the proffesion into disrepute?

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  • Media spin aside, all of the practices concerned received remedial notices and were only publicly reported on when they failed to act on the remedial notices after second inspections. We all know that only an idiot does not sort out problems the inspectors raise asap. One of the practices was done for not having doors on the consultation room! One of the others, a dispensing practice didn't have proper CD records. Remember that CD are governed by the misuse of drugs act which is criminal legislation, technically that could have been a police matter.
    You point out that the PCT's have in general know about these failings for some time but have done nothing about...which really concretes the case that the CQC is necessary does it not. 99% of practices will have nothing to worry about but standards have to be maintained.
    The CQC have also said that they only inspected practices this year that have had complaints made against them.
    This really is the shot across the bow from the CQC that we do have power and you need to check what you are doing and act on any problems...and GP's should heed that, spend a little time looking at the criteria and start sorting things out now so when the inspector comes they can tick their box and leave you alone for a few years.

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  • The inspectors have only visited a small proportion of practices. You can't claim that all those other UK practises are compliant until there is an inspection report for each of them.

    Evidence please.

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  • As ever a GP attempts to defend the indefensible. The CQC report isn't is very balanced. It draws attention to where there are serious failings and also to the fact that the majority of practices meet the required (albeit unchallenging and mediocre) standards. If you want to blame anyone for 'inflaming' the situation then direct your ire at the media not the CQC. And if you don't like being subject to an inspection regime then don't be a GP

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  • Methinks, the fundamental issue is missing from all of these. What is expected from a GP - never mind just the premises - how many appointments should he provide per 1000 patients in a year ?
    Gosh, a surgery without doors !! Is this really possible in 2013 ? This is easy to fix. If only life was that simple.

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  • ...Once upon a time, the NHS and a Japanese company decided to have a competitive boat race on the river Thames.

    Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance.
    On the big day, they were as ready as they could be.

    The Japanese won by a mile!

    Afterwards the NHS team became very discouraged by the loss and morale sagged. Senior management decided that the reason for the crushing defeat had to be found, and a project team was set up to investigate the problem and recommend appropriate action.

    Their conclusion: The problem was that the Japanese had eight people rowing, and one person steering. The NHS had one person rowing and eight people steering.

    Senior management immediately hired a consultancy company to do a study on the team structure. Millions of pounds and several months later the consultancy company concluded that: Too many people were steering and not enough rowing.

    To prevent loosing to the Japanese again next year, the team structure was changed to 'four steering managers, three senior steering managers and one executive steering manager'.

    A new "Quality performance system" was set up for the person rowing the boat to give more incentive to work harder and become a key performer.

    "We must give him empowerment and enrichment, that ought to do it".

    The next year, the Japanese won by TWO miles!

    The NHS laid off the rower for poor performance, sold all the paddles and cancelled all the capital investment for new equipment. They halted the development of a new boat, awarded high performance awards to the senior steering managers and distributed the money saved to Executive steering manager.

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  • If practices are bad as they are being reported to be, then why aren't patients complaining?

    I want good care, a proper diagnosis and the right treatment, other than that I don't care if my GP's sees me in his garden shed!

    I have see many surgeries and hospitals upgraded with light bright rooms, pretty curtains and furnishings etc, but where the care is poor.

    Before my practice moved to new premises,we were in an old cramped building where space was at a premium, no lift, not so bright walls, cluttered etc. but the care was second to none.
    In our new building, it is too clinical and care provided on conveyor belt, the personal warm and friendly touch has gone!

    My considered my GP to be someone I could share any problem with, I trusted him without question! Still with the same GP, he is now just a man that switches the conveyor belt off and on!
    Progress relating to buildings os one thing, the quality of patient care is far more important and would be delighted to move back to our scruffy old premises any time!

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  • Nial Keeley
    " and were only publicly reported on when they failed to act on the remedial notices after second inspections."
    This is untrue - indeed the central surgery to #MaggotGate had rectified the situation before the inspectors had left - yet were publically pilloried by the CQC.

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  • Anonymous 12.33
    Why are you not running the health service?
    You have hit the nail on the head and so should stand.
    I would vote for you.

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