Professor Field spoke to GPonline after a Reading practice became the first to emerge from the CQC's special measures regime.
‘It’s been a real shock to me how poor the quality of care is in some practices we've been to see,' he admitted. 'In some we've had to take urgent action and go to court ourselves, but what we’ve found is that after the special measures system has come in, practices work so much better when they realise they need to change and then support is offered from NHS England.’
He said the CQC would keep a close eye on practices that make it out the other side because ‘some might drift backwards from "requires improvement" to "inadequate"’.
CQC special measures
The turnaround at the Reading practice could not have happened without the CQC’s strict regime, he said. ‘Without being put into special measures, like many other practices we've found, this practice probably would have continued to be poorly led and patients would have been at risk.
‘Special measures has drawn attention to [the problems], resulting in support being piled in to ensure it started to improve within six months.’ Priory Avenue Surgery is ‘not the same practice it was six months ago’, he added.
‘As of today, there are 57 practices in special measures. Some of those practices have unfortunately been failing for many years. But until special measures came in, they didn’t seem to be led out of their poor practice – some were just being left alone.'