Francesca Beach, Trainee Solicitor at Fairweathers Solicitors, considers the Care Quality Commission’s latest comprehensive inspection of GP practices
The Care Quality Commission (‘CQC’) is an independent regulator of health and adult social care in England who monitors and inspects healthcare providers, such as GP Practices, Hospitals and Care Homes.
Currently there are over 7,500 GP practices looking after roughly 58 million registered patients through the UK.
The CQC conducted an inspection of 7,365 of these practices between 2014 and 2017. Each practice received two inspections; one at the beginning and one towards the end of this period.
Using their ‘five key question’ system the CQC rated these GP practices based on whether they were: safe, effective, caring, responsive to people’s needs and well-led.
The initial inspection concluded that 300 (4%) GP practices were inadequate and 972 (13%) required improvement
The GP practices were given feedback following the first visit with a list of improvements to implement.
Following the second inspection the report concluded that 116 (2%) GP practices remained inadequate and 528 (8%) still required improvement
The figures for GP Surgeries within the South East was much in keeping with the national pattern. London had the worst results with 17% of practices being rate as inadequate or requiring improvement. This contrasts with the North-East, the best performing region, where 98% of practices were rated good or outstanding.
Problems found by the review included: managing and dispensing medicines and vaccines, managing serious incidents, and having appropriate equipment and medicines available for emergency use.
Startlingly, one in seven GP practices, treating roughly 7 million patients, were found to be failing on safety, even after CQC inspectors told them to improve.
Should you wish to read the full report or look at the rating of your own GP surgery please visit the CQC’s website:
Francesca Beach, Trainee Solicitor at Fairweathers Solicitors, commented:-
“These figures are worrying, with 644 GP practices in England not providing patients with an adequate level of care and over 1,000 presenting with serious safety concerns. Competent GP practices are important to ensure that everyone has access to a good level of primary care. Given the aging population, and the increasing number of people living with chronic conditions such as diabetes and dementia, GP practices are going to be subject to even further pressures in the future. We can only hope that the CQC’s report will enable GP’s to revise their practises and deal with the growing needs of their patients”.