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GPs must act as ‘guarantors’ for quality of hospital care, says Dorrell

The chair of the House of Commons Health Committee has backed the Francis Inquiry recommendation that GPs should take greater responsibility for monitoring the quality of hospital care on behalf of their patients.

In an exclusive interview with Pulse, Stephen Dorrell said that it was part of being a good GP to ensure that the ‘system as a whole’ offered good quality care. 

Mr Dorrell also said that he supported the idea of a new chief inspector of primary care, saying practices would benefit from an ‘external view’.

The Francis Inquiry into care at Mid Staffordshire Foundation NHS Trust concluded one of the reasons the failures went unnoticed was because local GPs only expressed ‘substantive concern’ after they were specifically asked by investigators in 2009.

They recommended GPs should have an independent ‘monitoring role’ to ensure hospitals are providing good quality care.

Mr Dorrell said he supported this recommendation. He told Pulse: ‘It’s the professional clinical staff of the health service who are the ultimate guarantors of the quality of patient care that’s delivered.’

He stated, ‘GPs need to be conscious of the care that is available to their patients from the system as a whole, as well as their own care.’

In response to the Francis Inquiry, health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced that he was considering plans for a chief inspector of primary care to be responsible for upholding standards and make the final call when a practice is failing.

Mr Dorrell agreed, but added that more regulation was not the only solution to improve care.

‘It’s very important to stress that the assessment of standards has a part to play.’

He added: ‘The real way to improve the quality of care is through the commitment and focus of professional clinical staff.’

Pulse Live: 30 April – 1 May, Birmingham

Pulse Live

Pulse Live offers practical advice on key clinical and practice business topics, as well as an opportunity to debate the future of the profession, and a top range of speakers includes NICE chair Professor David Haslam, GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey and the Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell MP, chair of the House of Commons health committee.

To find out more and book your place, please click here.