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Independents' Day

'A CQC inspection should not be a burden for a well-managed practice'

The CQC’s chief inspector of general practice, Professor Steve Field, responds to the RCGP’s call for an immediate halt to the regulator’s inspections 

We are extremely disappointed that the RCGP has called for an ‘emergency pause’ to our inspections of general practices, which we carry out to make sure that people across England get safe, high-quality and compassionate primary care. The safety and quality of care of people who use these services continue to be our number one priority.

Already our inspections have allowed us to rate over 1,100 general practices across the country as Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement and Inadequate. We believe these can help people to make informed choices about their care.

So far, around 85% of these general practices have been either Good or Outstanding.

However, when over one in seven general practices are not delivering the care that patients have every right to expect, now is not the time for us to put a halt on our inspections. In the last few weeks alone, we have found some seriously deficient primary care, which has led to us cancelling the registrations of some practices, in the interests of protecting the safety and quality of care for people who use these services.

As a practising GP, I have never intended for our inspections to be experienced as a burden to those in the profession – and for a well-managed practice, the information we ask them to provide should not present itself as one.

Professor Steve Field, chief inspector of general practice at the CQC

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Readers' comments (48)

  • I do not doubt the sincerity of Professor Fields in this statement.
    All I ask that he do is reflect on the inspections as experienced at the practice level.
    The following news articles may allow him to draw some parallells with best practice in another regulatory body, in the hope he can avoid making the same classes of error.
    as this news story unfolds over the last 18 months it is all too familiar to this GP whose wife is a schoolteacher..

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  • Your inspections make it even harder for struggling practices to make do. Sometimes its better to have a so called poor surgery in a deprived area than to have no practice. CQC=short sighted and dumb.

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  • What a nonsensical response.

    Just because they have the power to close a practice does not mean it was the right thing to do. Especially as there has been a lack of detail about the issues and also what seems to be replacing it will be considerably worse. Can Pulse not look into this story which was commented on a lot last week?

    CQC are causing huge issues and are one of the causes of the crisis. Dr field does not come across as particularly genuine - I suspect this is a nice easy pre retirement post which will earn him that knighthood.

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  • There should be No compromise on quality but the inspection process is too cumbersome, bureaucratic and huge burden to the practice to proof that they are good enough practice. The money and time the practice spends to satisfy the regulator, i am sure they can easily employ a nurse for the whole year to boost various parameters of health. Just a thought.

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  • we need him to get on and do the job - 1 in 7 practices are failing that is over 1100 practices !

    we are talking about millions of patients with substandard care. The RCGP should be supporting the CQC to promote good quality care not opposing it.

    Professor Steve Field is a practicing GP so this is a guy who has his own neck on the line.

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  • Well I have had feedback after a CQC inspection based on poor evidence and assumption by the inspector.

    I was taught that when looking at evidence, the sample had to be big enough to be representative, yet in my case, a couple of patients who I have not seen for years chose to given negative feedback based on around 2007 last time I saw them when I was ill myself. It feels like a judgement based on a sample of 2 rather than 200. Even 20 may not be representative of how most patients perceive us if unlucky on the day.
    The other issues, although minor, were not anything to do with patient care, safety or compassion and issues I raised were not acknowledged at all.

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  • What should be inspected is patient care and not procedures, notices, policies etc. That is what is causing stress for GPs

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  • It seems that the inspection process itself is misguided and does not add value to an already over-stretched service. Professor Field grossly underestimates the amount of extra work needed to accommodate an inspection and the counter-productive effect this has on the practice's ability to provide high quality care that patients deserve. Like an injured animal, the reaction is to attack. This has led to destructive instead of constructive outcomes. Why not use an inadequate result to highlight a practice that is struggling so that measures can be put in place to support it and therefore benefit the patients that it serves? Patients do rely on this process, so it is important to get it right. The CQC has not managed to get it right enough so far, hence the reason for the temporary pause. Let's get it sorted, please.

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  • We need CQC which is Catching Quacks Commission.

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  • Is this not a quango? Didn't this governemnt in 2010 promise to rid us of quangos? But then they make lots of promises.

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