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RCGP chair calls for clampdown on dangerous GPs

By Lilian Anekwe

Outgoing RCGP chair has accused PCTs of ‘shirking their responsibility' to maintain the quality of general practice, claiming ill advised cuts have left thousands of patients at risk from poor performers.

In his last keynote speech at the RCGP conference, yesterday, Professor Field said there has been ‘disgraceful' cutbacks in funding to GP appraisal programmes.

He told the conference PCTs had failed to tackle the minority of poor-performing practices and urged future GP commissioners to take a much tougher stance.

‘PCTs like Tower Hamlets have systematically worked with poor performers… putting money into professional development and supporting the development of services,' he said.

‘Others have shirked their responsibilities, with some even halting GP appraisal in the last few years to save money. It has been a disgrace.

‘If the PCTs in England had gotten their act together and got good clinical governance systems and sensible appraisal systems then we wouldn't have had to have gone through all this rigmoral of developing revalidation systems. We had to respond where the service, I believe, failed.'

‘I continue to believe that general practice is the jewel in the NHS crown. I've seen some wonderful and brilliant practice. But I'm also aware from going around the country that some care provided by GPs, some care provided by primary care, isn't up to the standard that we would expect for our family and friends.

‘Wherever they live in the UK, our patients deserve the best quality GP generalist care that they can get. Unfortunately, the NHS in all four countries often fails in maintaining those standards.

‘Some primary care organisations have not tackled poor performance as they should have done. Some have tackled it, and we know it's only a minority of practices, only a few percent, but if you multiply that two or three percent of GPs who are providing poor care by an average list size of 1800 hundred patients, that's a lot of people at risk in this country. We mustn't tolerate poor quality care.'

Professor Steve Field: PCTs have left dangerous GPs at large Professor Steve Field: PCTs have left dangerous GPs at large