GP checks ‘may not get to the root of problems’

Doctors are to be monitored more closely
Doctors are to be monitored more closely
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage.

Picture: Steve Reid

MP to oversee government social care reforms

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THE body that represents GP practices in the Portsmouth area said a new inspection system will be ‘intrusive’ for surgeries.

The Care Quality Commission has said GP practices providing inadequate care will be given deadlines for improvement or face closure.

A pilot system of ‘special measures’ will start in October and cover all practices in England.

Surgeries will face longer inspections than currently undertaken and these will involve teams of five to six people visiting a practice.

Dr Nigel Watson, chief executive of the Wessex Local Medical Committee, said: ‘We all want equality in our practices.

‘GPs have rigorous, annual appraisals anyway.

‘The problem with visiting practices is a lot of the problems are to do with old buildings that need investment.

‘And as we have reported before, the other problem is recruiting staff.

‘Having a team of five or six people will be quite intrusive for practices.’

The CQC inspection will produce one of four outcomes – outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate.

Where aspects of a service are rated inadequate, practices will have six months to improve.

If they fail to get better they will be put into special measures and if after a maximum of a further six months they are still found to be inadequate, they will have their registration with CQC cancelled and/or their contract ended by NHS England, which means the practice will close.

Dr Tim Wilkinson, partner at the Derby Road Group Practice, in Portsmouth, said: ‘It needs to be acknowledged that locally the standard of care GP practices deliver is good.

‘We need to make sure we are not complacent and look to improve the quality of care.

‘In the unlikely event a practice is put into special measures, they will have support to deliver the required improvements over a six-month period before a closure is carried out. If a practice has got to that stage then the system has already failed, but also begs the question why patients still attend rather than voting with their feet.’

Dr David Chilvers is a partner at the Waterside Medical Centre, in Gosport.

He said: ‘We firmly believe everyone deserves high-quality care at all times.

‘We would be keen to work with all parties to ensure the public get the care and treatment they deserve in a suitable environment.’