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GP practices rated inadequate now delivering good care

by Léa Legraien
11 October 2017

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Most GP practices previously rated inadequate are now rated good, according to the latest report published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The report, State of Care, reveals that in spite of the challenges general practice has been confronted with this year, 80% of 196 inadequate GP practices have made the necessary changes to improve their services quality between 2016 and 2017.

The CQC re-inspected a total of 1,700 practices, including 613 originally rated ‘requires improvement’ and 891 originally rated ‘good’.   

The report also shows that among the 7,365 GP practices the CQC inspected on 31 July 2017, 89% were rated as good, a 10% improvement compared to its first inspection earlier this year.

‘Testament to effort of managers’

Sir David Behan, CQC chief executive, said: ‘The fact that the quality of care has been maintained in the toughest climate that most can remember is testament to the efforts of frontline staff, managers and leaders.

‘Many providers have used our inspection reports to improve, and we have seen improvements in safety in particular, although this area remains a big concern and focus for us.’

The CQC outlines that ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ practices are the ones employing non-traditional staff, such as advanced nurse practitioners, care coordinators and healthcare assistants. They contribute to the good working of practices by helping GPs with the workload and bringing a mixture of skills.

Overcoming challenges

But the report also warns that, with 2% of GP practices remaining ‘inadequate’ and 6% still requiring improvement, local collaboration between leaders to engage the workforce, patients and local partners is the key to overcome the current challenges.

The main problems the CQC found among unsafe practices were staff shortages, poor governance systems and a poor leadership.

Niall Dickson, NHS Confederation chief executive, said: ‘Let no-one misunderstand what is being said here – the health and care system is managing well, with some improvements in safety, but its future is precarious.

‘Of course, as the report acknowledges, there is more local services can do to improve co-ordination and the way services are organised, but the inescapable conclusion has to be that without further government funding today’s perilous state will become tomorrow’s tragedy.’