Third of GP surgeries putting patients at risk according to CQC chief

What is the hidden agenda behind these stories ? shrinking budgets and a block on investment in premises mean few GPs can get improvement grants to put things right ………

Third of GP surgeries putting patients at risk: Inspectors warn of practices infested with cockroaches, out of date medicines and people forced to queue outside for appointments

  • Hundreds of thousands of patients are at risk by poor GP surgeries
  • A third of practices are failing to take basic measures to prevent harm 
  • One in 20 was inadequate, of which 12 were deemed so dangerous that they had to be closed immediately

The NHS’s Chief Inspector of General Practice – a GP himself – said that what he had found made him ‘ashamed’ of his own profession.

Professor Steve Field, of the Care Quality Commission, has so far rated around 2,100 of the 8,300 practices in England under the Ofsted-style system.

The regime has already been applied to hospitals, with damning results. The watchdog found that many were failing to meet basic standards.

Professor Field has now revealed the first results from its assessment of GP practices. They will be presented to MPs next week. They show how:

■ GPs are hiring locums without checking they are competent or have a criminal record,

■ Patients are having to queue up outside for up to four hours for an appointment,

■ Secretaries are being left to sort through urgent blood test results, x-rays or letters from hospitals to decide if they are important enough for GPs to see,

■ Some surgeries are infested with cockroaches, keeping out-of-date medicines and failing to ensure they have life-saving equipment such as defibrillators,

■ GPs are going on holiday for two weeks leaving their surgeries deserted because they haven’t found locums to fill in.

However GPs have little faith in this new regulator and neither do the….

Parliamentary public accounts committee (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmselect/cmpubacc/501/50103.htm#_idTextAnchor008)

Summary ( of the committee report)

The Care Quality Commission has made substantial progress since the Committee last reported in 2012. But it is behind where it should be, six years after it was established, in that it is not yet an effective regulator of health and social care. Because of staff shortages it is not meeting the trajectory it set itself for completing inspections of hospitals, adult social care and primary care. There are also concerns about the consistency and accuracy of draft inspection reports, and the time the Commission takes to finalise a report after carrying out an inspection. At the same time, the Commission is not yet ready to implement new responsibilities it takes on in April 2016 to assess the efficiency with which hospitals use their resources. In addition, the Commission does not yet have the quantified performance measures, linked to explicit targets, that are needed to show whether it is satisfactorily performing its statutory duties. We will be returning to this subject to review what further progress the Commission makes in the coming year.

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