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85% of UK GP practices rated ‘good’ by CQC

by Eleanor Bird
21 July 2017

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Most GP practices in England are rated as good or outstanding by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), it has revealed.

Its annual report, released on Tuesday (18 July), details over 45,000 of the CQC’s inspections carried out over the past year, almost 20% (7,770) of which were for GP practices.

The vast majority (85%) of assessed GP practices were rated ‘good’ and 5% were considered ‘outstanding’. However, 9% were deemed to ‘require improvement’ and 3% named ‘inadequate’.

The report also highlights a faster registration process and budget savings, but also shows that the organisation missed several key targets for publishing inspection reports.

Improving quality

Over 450 GP practices were re-inspected and almost 80% improved their rating, although 5% deteriorated in quality and over 150 GP practices were placed into special measures over the year.

The report also highlights several key achievements made by the Commission, including streamlining the provider registration process, publishing updated assessment frameworks and taking action in almost 2,000 cases where providers were putting patients at risk of poor care.

Chief executive Sir David Behan said 2016/17 was an important year for the CQC: ‘We now have a robust baseline of quality across health and social care and a strong foundation on which to build our next phase of regulation,’ he said.

He added: ‘Our ratings allow us to highlight improvements and identify excellence as well as pinpoint where action is needed. We want to be a catalyst for changes that improve the quality of care and I am encouraged that despite the considerable challenges facing each sector, improvements in quality have been achieved.’

Delays in publishing reports

However, the report acknowledges that the CQC is still taking too long to publish inspection reports. In primary medical care, only 60% of inspection reports were published on time. The total number of reports published in the sector also increased from last year – by over 40% – perhaps reflecting the growing pressures facing GP practices.

On this issue, the CQC said: ‘We recognise that there is more to be done…to improve the speed with which we publish our inspection reports. We will need to continue to adapt and develop to meet the new and ongoing challenges for the health and social care system while working more efficiently as an organisation.’

The report also highlighted particular dissatisfaction among GP practices. While 70% of primary care providers (which includes GPs but also dentists and urgent care providers) agreed that CQC guidance and standards helped them to improve their systems and plans for providing care, little over half (54%) of GP practices agreed with this statement.

Common problems noted by practices included the CQC’s systems for openness and transparency as well as recruitment checks.