Over three quarters of GP practices have been rated at least once by CQC inspectors, with most achieving good or outstanding scores.
The watchdog has committed to rating all practices by 31 March, provided they were registered when the current scheme began in October 2014.
It intends to overhaul the regime once again to 'strengthen' its assessments of GP practices from this April. Under the changes, most practices rated good or higher will not be visited again for up to five years, on condition they send yearly updates to the CQC.
Including any re-ratings practices have received, 4% of over 6,000 practices rated so far currently hold an outstanding rating – numbering almost 250 across England.
The overwhelming majority – over 5,000 – have been rated good, including over 260 which have improved enough to upgrade their rating after initially receiving a lower rating.
Just one in 10 have been ordered to make improvements by the watchdog, while 3% are rated inadequate.
Some 400 practices initially given one of the bottom two ratings have since been rated a second time, with the majority going on to make improvements.
CQC chief inspector Professor Steve Field said: ‘After reporting on more than 6,000 inspections we have found that most care is good – with over 200 practices now rated outstanding. That means that over 1m patients in England currently receive care from practices which we have rated outstanding.
‘What’s enormously encouraging is that our inspections are driving improvement – 90% of practices that we have re-inspected have improved since last October. Through their hard work and dedication, practices are making positive changes to the care they deliver.
‘However, we still see evidence of too much poor care. Since we began inspecting GP practices in October 2014 we have found over 200 practices to be Inadequate. While this is a minority, this still amounts to over half a million patients in England who were not receiving the basic standards of care that they should be able to expect from their GP practice.
‘I am glad to say that we have increasingly found that most practices that are placed in special measures use the support that is on offer to meet those standards.’