Most GP practices now delivering good or outstanding care

According to a recent report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which presents the findings of their programme of inspections of 7365 English general practices, 90% of practices are now rated either good or outstanding.

In October 2014, the CQC formally introduced their new inspection programme for primary medical services, which included performance ratings in order to help patients make informed choices about their healthcare. The inspections focused on issues that mattered most to patients using the services, ie whether they were safe, caring, effective, responsive and well-led.

The report, The State of Care in General Practice 2014 to 2017, showed that at the completion of the first inspection programme in May 2017, 4% of general practices were rated “outstanding”, 86% “good”, 8% “requires improvement”, and 2% were rated “inadequate”. These statistics include many general practices that had improved on re-inspection. On first inspection, 4% of general practices were rated “inadequate” and 13% “requires improvement”; however, 82% of these practices improved their rating following a second inspection.

In his foreword, CQC chief inspector of general practice, Professor Steve Field commented: “Of all the health and care sectors that CQC regulates and rates, GP practices have consistently received among the highest ratings and we should be immensely proud of the fact that nine in 10 practices that CQC has inspected were providing good or outstanding care to their patients. This is to be commended when considering the challenges that general practice currently faces.”

Nevertheless, Professor Field pointed out that there is no room for complacency, as one in 10 GP practices still needs to improve the quality of their care. Hence, the CQC supports the pledges made by NHS England in the General Practice Forward View to increase funding for general practice, improve leadership, increase the frontline workforce and invest in infrastructure.

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