The NHS should be proud of the standard of care offered in the vast majority of general practices in England, according to Professor Steve Field, the chief inspector of general practice at the CQC.
Professor Field made the remarks at the Best Practice in Nursing show in Birmingham on 20 October. Addressing delegates on the progress of the CQC's first inspections of general practices in England, he said that care being offered was of a high standard. Of the general practices that the CQC has inspected, 83% were rated as good, with a further 4% considered outstanding, despite the 'challenging environment' in which general practice staff work. In total, 4406 practices have 'good' care, and 219 are outstanding, compared to 686 in need of improvement, and 326 rated as inadequate.
'We should be proud of general practice. The overwhelming majority provide excellent care to patients,' said Professor Field.
Reflecting on examples of outstanding care, Professor Field cited the examples of the Bevan practice in Bradford, which works with a large number of refugees and asylum seekers, and the Inclusion Healthcare group in Leicester, which set up a charity to care for homeless people at the end of their lives. He stated that a key factor in the success of practices is strong leadership, stating that some boroughs in London have very low rates of inadequate care, while just a mile away, the number of poor practices is four times the national average.
He cited some alarming examples of care in inadequate practices, including a practice where a chiropractor was referred to as a doctor to patients, and another where a doctor who was not qualified as a GP examined over 800 patients. 'A small proportion of practices are providing no care or inadequate care, and this is not acceptable,' said Professor Field.