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‘Professor Field has lost the confidence of the profession’

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, GPC chair

This motion demonstrates the dismay and anger felt by dedicated hardworking GPs across England following the recent unjustified comments made by the chief inspector of general practice at the CQC. When the vast majority of practices are managing to maintain high quality care against all odds in the face of falling resources, staff shortages and rising patient demand, the Chief Inspector should be vocally supporting GP services and not undermining them.

It is clear that the CQC inspection regime is not fit for purpose. The current process is disproportionate, expensive and bureaucratic, and takes GPs and their staff away from spending time looking after their patients. It includes endless amounts of pointless paperwork, such as box ticking exercises aimed at scrutinising the details of internal practice meetings. The CQC has already had to perform a U-turn this year over its widely discredited risk banding programme which formed judgements before inspectors had even arrived at a practice.

If a GP practice is found to be struggling, immediate action needs to be taken to ensure that it is supported to improve the quality of care that practice delivers. It does not need to be attacked, especially as in many cases problems that do occur are due to resource or infrastructure constraints.

The CQC inspection process needs wholesale reform urgently in order to restore the confidence of the profession and stop GPs wasting their time on pointless processes and paperwork when they should be treating patients.”


Dr Maureen Baker, RCGP chair

GPs are supportive in general of regulation, however the way Steve has gone about making misleading, unfounded and denigrating comments about the level of care that hard-working GPs provide to their patients is rapidly undermining the concept of regulation.

He repeatedly makes sensationalist and non-evidenced claims about how bad the level of patient care is – which must inevitably scare patients. 

As the Chief Inspector of General Practice, Steve needs to be seen as being fair and impartial, but given the scaremongering comments he has made this is no longer the case. To be quite frank, he has now clearly lost the confidence of the profession.

For someone in such a position of authority to disparage unfairly the work of our hard-working family doctors is inexcusable.

It is difficult [to see] how Steve can turn his reputation around with the nation’s GPs, but he could make a start by issuing an immediate apology. 

As an organisation, we support the principle of the CQC having a regulatory role to ensure that practices do not fall below an acceptable standard of patient care. But we need the inspection regime to be headed up by a Chief Inspector who is seen as fair and impartial, and has the confidence of family doctors.