New inspections to lead to ratings

CQC Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of General Practice
CQC Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of General Practice
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New style inspections of GP practices and out-of-hours services in Lancashire starting this month will lead to the first ever ratings of practices.

For the first time ever, there will be a clear way for the public and GPs to know which family doctors are providing great care, and which need to improve.

Starting this month, Care Quality Commission (CQC) expects to inspect approximately 8,000 GP practices across England.

Inspections are being carried out by teams that include trained inspectors, GPs, nurses, practice managers and trained members of the public who have experience of care across.

GP practices will be rated as Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement or Inadequate, giving members of the public clear information about how well their local GP practice is performing to help them make informed choices about their care. The first GP ratings are expected to be available from November and will be published on CQC’s web site.

As the new inspections begin, CQC has published a handbook that sets out clearly how GPs will be assessed and rated. The handbook helps providers understand exactly what inspectors will be looking for – and importantly how inspectors will determine the rating following an inspection.

The handbooks are the result of extensive consultation with the public, GPs and the organisations that represent them such as the BMA and RCGP. They also build on the experience gained through trial inspections using the new method.

Professor Steve Field, chief inspector of general practice said: “The handbooks mark an important moment as we begin our new approach to inspecting general practice and in making sure people get good or outstanding services from their GP.

“Most GPs already provide really good services for their patients, but our inspections so far suggest that there is too much variation. Our new style inspections will help to celebrate and promote good practice and ensure that GP practices in need of further support are identified so that they are able to meet the needs of their local communities.”

“We will inspect against what matters most to the people using GP services – asking whether practices are safe, caring, effective, responsive to people’s needs, and well-led.”