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Professor Steve Field says GPs have 'failed as a profession'

General practice has ‘failed as a profession’, CQC chief inspector of general practice Professor Steve Field has told the Daily Mail.

Professor Field said that he was ‘ashamed’ to be a GP at times because of the care being offered by some practices, in an interview with the paper this weekend.

He was speaking ahead of an appearance in front of the House of Commons Health Committee tomorrow as part of its inquiry into the state of primary care.

The comments to the Mail are in stark contrast to comments made by Professor Field’s deputy last month, who said that the main failings of practices were procedural, and not to do with patient care.

Professor Field pointed out that 29% of practices are found to be ‘not safe’.

In comments a CQC spokesperson told Pulse were accurately reported, Professor Field told the Mail: ‘I believe that we’ve failed as a profession.

‘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.

‘In some practices there is no care, they’re absent. The practices are being run by a series of locums, with no leadership. I was shocked at how uncaring and poor some of the practices have been.’

He was commenting on the CQC’s submission to the committee, which highlighted problems in individual practices.

It included problems such as checks on locums, making sure medicine is in-date and ensuring patients can see a doctor in an emergency.

The CQC concluded that the ‘majority of primary medical services are providing Good or Outstanding care’, but said there was a ‘concerning amount of poor quality care being provided to people, which puts their safety at risk’.

It comes after Ruth Rankine, who is responsible for GP inspections in the South of England, admitted that ‘very often’ GP practices rated inadequate scored highly in the ‘caring’ domain, with a lack of ‘basic systems and processes’ the base for concern.

This is not the first time the CQC has caused headlines in national papers about the failings of GP practices, although claims of ‘maggots in treatment rooms’ and flawed ‘risk-ratings’ were subsequently withdrawn by the regulator.


Readers' comments (141)

  • People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones:
    I suspect the MPs will want to talk to Prof Field about the failings of CQC, and he must accept his share of the responsibility for this. As someone who has been a Specialist Adviser on CQC inspections of GP practices, I would say there is some truth in his comments about a very few practices. It is a pity that he, according to this article, did not choose take the opportunity to sing the praises of the vast majority of practices which are either good or, indeed, truly outstanding. When I haev seen practices that are failing, it is usually clear that the reason for this is the successive years of funding cuts and the recruitment and retention crisis, not just of GPs, but of other practice staff as well. If Prof Field wants to do the profession a service, he should use his position to lobby ministers to press for a greatly increased share of resources to rebuild General Practice.

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  • interestingly :

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  • In any other field of life queues of people wanting to access the service would be a success. People advertise to achieve this!
    Yet as were funded like a cheap buffet we are somehow branded as failures!
    GPs should leave the NHS - now.

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  • Any business facing so many problems would have been shut a long time ago. Why is GP any different. It is no longer fit for purpose and it needs to go. Why are so many up in arms ? Do you think your practice is functioning normally? Think again cause it aint.

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  • This man in his authority should be talking about cause and effect. Like schools - runs by supply teachers the future of General practice is Locums as we all run off from running our own business - of general practice.
    Sir you fail to talk about poor molare,stress,workload, lack of manpower, lack of investment in premises and General Practice etc etc.
    Sir you have failed yourself and you are not fit for purpose for this position you hold (paid by us the GPs) or as a non-practising GP. Please go now.

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  • I am proud to be a GP, Prof Failed GP.

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  • I am ashamed to be a member of the same Royal college as this man.

    I am not ashamed to be a GP

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  • I am also proud to be a GP and not happy with the way our "leaders" take care of business. However, I am not proud of how divided we are. I am not proud of the lack of insight that many colleagues seem to suffer with. Yes we are underfunded, yes we are asked to do more for less all the time, but why on earth do we put up with it. All we have done until now is moan and expected results for it. Moaning gets you what you deserve. Now take it on the chin or DO something about it.

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  • All we need now is for Maureen et al to "welcome his comments". A true waste of air if ever I've met one…. Come on Steve, only a few more weeks and the gong will be yours (not sure it's worth the contempt of almost every Doctor in Britain - admittedly we are all beneath you but then again you would have thought that the few hours a month of GP you work should be enough to keep you one of us). An inspiration to us all…..

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  • If the RCGP had any spine or values at all they would be expelling this farce out of the College immediately for gross defamation of all GPs throughout the land.

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