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Independents' Day

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failings of GP practices, although claims of ‘maggots in treatment rooms’ and flawed ‘risk-ratings’ were subsequently withdrawn by the regulator.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)

  • If Prof Field is ashamed of being a GP, I think deep down in his heart he probably knows why he is ashamed. Why would anybody dwell in a profession he is ashamed of? The virtuous thing to do is to deregister from the profession and make amends with one's conscience.

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  • He clearly has an agenda against GPs despite being one himself. To make such sweeping inflammatory statements, and to the Daily Mail of all places. I cannot find words strong enough to describe Field's treachery.

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  • And there you have it folks - the reason he's such a traitor to us all. Nothing so sick as a turncoat.

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  • I hate to say it but....he might have a point. As a locum I see lots of shocking practices and wonder how the hell are they allowed to carry on?!
    About time some one with balls took on the elephant in the room.

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  • 10:39, perhaps there is an element of truth, but this happened whilst he was Chair/Pres of the RCGP, so surely has an element of culpability. As a former leader of his profession he should shoulder the burden of such claims. Plus he also denigrates and disparages the vast majority of brilliant, hard working, compassionate and committed GPs in the country. His statements are far from helpful at a time of reduced morale, increased demand and a "patient as consumer" attitude. This is not a good time to be stabbing us in the back Prof. Be part of the solution.

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  • 10:39; You are right there are Practices I have wondered in my days as a locum, how they function and even recently been in a highly funded Practices where the GP's chair was unstable as there were pits in the floor. However, this is no reason for me to be ashamed of being a GP and putting out generalization like ' GPs have failed as a profession'
    While it is seldom that we come across 'failing GPs' the same cannot be said of GP turned politicians who will go any length at the cost of the profession to further their careers.

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  • As I work in a PFI building which had a inadequate practice (2 weeks holiday and no Dr cover article in the Daily Mail)yet the rest of GP's had been repeatedly telling CQC, LMC, GMC and NHS England for 4 years there was an issue.

    I know who has failed.

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  • It makes me ashamed to be a GP if we have the likes of Professor Field as a fellow GP.
    When is the next honours list?

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  • Its by making such remarks that you get noticed and become a "Professor"
    Its got nothing to do with his skills as a GP, as in his words, its a failing profession.
    God help us - between the CQC and such leadership, we are bound to be doomed.

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  • It's not helpful though when someone of his stature just does a blanket dismissal of the profession(assuming his words aren't taken out of context). Constructive criticism, fine. Those And surely, as a former RCGP chief, he knows the difference

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