The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has announced the first chief inspector of general practice – Professor Steve Field.
Professor Field, a GP and past chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners joins the CQC from NHS England, where he was deputy director of addressing health inequalities.
His role will be to lead the CQC’s inspection and regulation of primary care providers.
Professor Field said: “I see this as a wonderful opportunity to highlight what’s good in general practice and dentistry, and to shine a light on what isn’t. It’s an opportunity to make sure that all organisations are encouraged to live up to the standards of the best.
“I have had a long-standing commitment to address health inequalities and this role will enable me to ensure that primary medical services put this increasingly important issue high on their agendas. It will also allow me to focus on making sure that people receive health and care services that are integrated.”
According to the regulator, Professor Field will champion the interests of people who use primary medical and dental services, while ensuring that health and social care join seamlessly for service users.
He will also introduce a ratings system for registered primary care providers. The system will be used to assure patients that standards are being met while supporting commissioning decisions.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Steve will have the power and authority to judge how well each practice is serving patients, help us to celebrate the best practices, and take tough action where standards aren’t up to scratch.
“GP surgeries are the bedrock of our NHS, providing vital long-term care for some of our most vulnerable and elderly. I am determined that patients who rely on them get the excellent service they deserve every time.”
The Royal College of General Practitioners has also welcomed his appointment.