Only 40 out of 800 Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspections conducted last year had a GP present, figures show.
A freedom of information request has shown that since July 2013 468 primary medical services inspections (including GP practice, dentists and community services) have involved a ‘special advisor’ and in 44 cases this was a GP.
However, a total of 816 practice inspections have taken place over the same period, Pulse has revealed.
The CQC claims that specialist advisers were not available for the first three months of the inspection programme.
A CQC spokesperson said: “From April 2014 inspection teams will include a CQC inspector, a GP, a practice nurse or practice manager and a trainee GP. They may also include a member of the public with particular experience of using GP practices.”
Dr Maureen Baker, chair of the RCGP, said: “It’s crucial that any inspection of GP practices should have input from people who have direct experience of frontline general practice and who know first-hand about the challenges that GPs and their teams are facing in trying to deliver quality care for patients.”
Professor Steve Field, CQC chief inspector of general practice told Pulse: “I’m a GP and I have been involved in inspecting practices for years. When I learnt about the detail of the current CQC model, it became obvious to me that we needed to change it and have more clinical input.
“[But] it also became clear that these inspectors that were trained were finding important deficiencies in some practices. Those are important and we have published the reports because we are an open and transparent organisation. It does not take a doctor to see that a fridge is not being monitored for its temperature, or that vaccines are out of date or in some cases that emergency drugs are out of date.”
He added: “But what will happen is that the clinician on the visit – the GP – will be able to look more broadly and we are looking at the exact content and process of those visits today and will continue to do that until when we pilot them in April.