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Chief GP inspector set to leave CQC in March 2019

The CQC’s chief inspector of general practice is set to leave his position in March 2019 after five and a half years in the role.

According to the CQC, Professor Steve Field extended his term at the regulator by six months, having originally been expected to leave in October this year. 

Professor Field, who took on the role in October 2013, leads on the inspection of all providers of primary care services, including out-of-hours, online providers and prison health care.

However, since August 2017, he has also assisted in reviewing local systems, looking at hospitals, community services, ambulance services, care homes and residential care services, as well as GP practices.

CQC chief executive Ian Trenholm said: ‘I am extremely grateful to Steve for extending his term of office by six months until March 2019, and supporting me as I joined this important organisation – this has allowed us to progress much of the local system review work and speaks to Steve’s dedication to making sure people get the high-quality, compassionate care that they deserve.

Professor Field told Pulse earlier this year that ‘the amount of work we have been doing on local system reviews’, led him to give up his position as a practising GP at Bellevue Medical Centre in Birmingham.

He said at the time: ‘I have been focusing on making sure we get this important new approach right, where we take a wider view of the patient experience across a local health and care system.’

However, the CQC has faced accusations of bias in its practice inspections during his tenure after a Pulse analysis revealed that at least 60% of partners in ‘inadequate’ practices are BME

Meanwhile, Professor Field admitted at a conference late last year, that the CQC is ‘not as consistent’ as it should be with some practices inspected with more leniency than others.

The news comes after CQC board papers revealed that it has sought legal advice in a bid to expand its inspection remit to include a number of online GP providers, which are currently slipping through the net.