Around 18 months after the current inspection regime began, roughly two in every five GP practices in England have now opened their doors to CQC inspectors and been assessed as ‘outstanding’, ‘good’, ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ – over 3,200 practices overall.
More than 100 of these have been rated twice, due to follow-up visits undertaken by the CQC to assess whether improvements had taken place.
The watchdog has given itself an extra year, until 31 March 2017, to get through every practice, revising its deadline several times after progress was slower than planned.
The top 4% of practices have been found outstanding, while 81% currently are rated good. One in nine (11%) are rated requires improvement and 4% inadequate.
Practices in the north of England have tended to perform best in inspections so far, with 90% achieving good or outstanding scores.
This is followed by the south of England, with 87%, and then the Midlands and east, with 83%. Three quarters (76%) of London practices achieved one of the top two scores.
All practices in Corby, Lancashire North, North and West Reading and Vale Royal CCGs have been rated by inspectors, with 100% found good or outstanding in Corby and Lancashire North.
Others – including Ashford, Canterbury and Coastal, East Surrey, Horsham and Mid Sussex and Leeds West CCGs – have only had one practice inspected.
CQC chief inspector of general practice Professor Steve Field said: ‘After more than 3,000 inspections we have found that most care is good – with over 100 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.’
But he added that there was still ‘too much’ poor care. ‘Since we began inspecting GP practices in October 2014 we have found over 100 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.’