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Regional variation persists in safety and efficiency of general practice

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The CQC has released the 2013/14 its review the State of health care and adult social care in England , which found that general practices in the UK are broadly safe, effective, and well led, but there is still regional variation in quality.

The report found that approximately one in five practices did not meet at least one of the standards of safety, although the impact on patients was said to be mostly minor. It showed that practices in areas with the highest social deprivation tended to provide a lower quality of care than practices in other areas. A trend was revealed for practices with larger patient lists to deliver higher standards of care than those with smaller lists.

The report also looked into the provision of GP out-of-hours services. CQC inspectors surveyed 30 out-of-hours services, which cover over 19 million people. They found that no examples very poor care among the out-of-hours services inspected, indicating that the services were providing effective and high-quality care.

Rob Webster, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: 'We know you cannot inspect quality into services. Quality and value is the primary responsibility of Boards, NHS leaders, staff and teams. Inspection by external teams, including individuals with expertise gained as both professionals and patients, is a valuable contributor to managing and improving NHS performance and a good source of reflection and insight.'

While primary care was found to broadly provide safe and effective care, the findings for secondary care were said to be 'unacceptable', with eight given an inadequate rating and 57 required improvement, out of 82 of the hospitals inspected.

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