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Hunt: Practices will be ‘rigorously inspected’

21 May 2013

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Practices will be subject to ‘rigorous inspection’ with the appointment of a GP chief inspector, the Health Secretary is expected to announce on Thursday. 

Later this week Jeremy Hunt will say that the problems seen in A&E are linked to the way GPs work. 

His speech at the King’s Fund will introduce a new system of inspection that will aim to focus on whether GP practices are providing effective and responsive care. 

Hunt will add that he wants practises to have a named doctor responsible for the care provided at all times. 

The BBC reported he will say: “As a member of the public, I want to know my GP. And I want my GP to be someone that knows me and my family.

“Yet we’ve turned GP practices into places where it’s a daily challenge for receptionists to cope with huge call volumes and GPs to get through to all the people they need to see.” 

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‘No blame’

However, his speech notes that he “does not blame NHS staff”, saying that GPs have become victims of a “box-ticking culture”. 

He will emphasise that there needs to be a “renewed focus” on GP care and community services in order to relieve the pressure elsewhere. 

Hunt will also set out proposals for patients who are in regular contact with community-based NHS services, particularly vulnerable older people, to be given a named healthcare professional to be in charge of their care – much as a hospital patient falls under the care of a named consultant.

The Daily Mail has quoted the Health Secretary as saying: “Everyone agrees that hospitals should only be a last resort for the frail elderly and that – for someone perhaps with dementia and other complex conditions – A&E departments can be extremely confusing places.

“But what alternatives do we offer? GP surgeries where it is often impossible to get an appointment the next day; same day appointments but only if you call at 8 o’clock in the morning sharp and are lucky getting through; long waits on the phone to get through, sometimes at premium rates; difficulty in registering with another practice if you move home, or aren’t happy with the service you are receiving; out-of-hours services where you speak to a doctor who doesn’t know you from Adam and has no access to your medical record.”

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