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CQC, take your own intelligent advice

So, let me get this straight. The CQC’s latest report states that, in the year to 31 July 2019, nearly a fifth of practices previously rated ‘good’ have slipped to either ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’.

But it has acknowledged that workforce challenges and rising patient demand have been significant contributors in this decline.

Which is brilliant news. Because the obvious conclusion to draw from this is that the CQC is simply setting unrealistic standards.

Given the unsustainable pressure on GP services, it should be accepted that the best we can aspire to is a barely safe mediocrity (NICE could take note of this, too, particularly with regard to the letter ‘E’).

I believe there may be one bullet left

So I look forward to the CQC’s new grading system which will presumably (and I admit I’m working from memory here) shift practices from ‘utter shite’ to ‘really quite remarkable given the circumstances’.

What the CQC is effectively admitting is that really it’s unfair and pointless to send the troops into battle with no ammunition, and then shoot them for underperforming.

So, CQC, given that your ‘intelligent monitoring’ was entirely responsible for the most massive and unjust blow to staff morale in my practice that I’ve witnessed in over 30 years at the coalface, and that your organisation itself is one of those workforce challenges you cite, can I suggest that you do the intelligent, and honourable, thing? I believe there may be one bullet left.

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. Read more of Copperfield’s blogs at or follow him on Twitter @doccopperfield