CQC places three 'inadequate' practices into special measures

Three GP practices will be officially rated 'inadequate' by the CQC on Thursday, and will become the first to be placed into the watchdog's special measures regime.

Professor Steve Field: first practices to go into special measures (Photo: Pete Hill)
Professor Steve Field: first practices to go into special measures (Photo: Pete Hill)

The ratings will be published just a week after the watchdog announced that any ‘inadequate’ practices will be automatically and immediately placed into special measures.

The practices are scheduled to enter the scheme on the same day the rating is published, 22 January, a CQC board paper has revealed.

From this date, the three practices – as yet publicly unidentified – will face a strict 12-month deadline to transform care for the better, or the CQC will cancel its registration and the practice will be forced to close.

Special measures practices will be eligible for an ‘intensive peer support programme’ developed by the RCGP and NHS England to aid them during this period.  They will be expected to contribute half the costs for the programme.

69 practices rated

Pilots for the new CQC inspection regime found that approximately 2% of practices were providing potentially dangerous, ‘inadequate’ care. At this scale, up to 200 practices in England could be at risk of being placed in special measures.

The CQC's board paper said: ‘We have published 69 ratings reports, three of which were outstanding, 56 were good and 10 required improvement.

‘We expect to publish our first inadequate ratings reports and identify three practices that will move into special measures on 22 January 2015; we are working closely with local NHS England teams, who will provide support for the practices concerned.’

4% inadequate

With 69 having received official ratings, it currently stands that 4% of practices have been found inadequate.

Chief inspector of primary care Professor Steve Field previously said the CQC would only cancel a practice’s registration if it was ‘absolutely necessary’, and the watchdog’s priority would always be to ‘help the practice improve’ during this period.

GP leaders have emphasised that special measures must not become ‘simply a way to close practices’ that may be struggling. GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘It's important that the first step is to try to identify the reasons that lead to these problems and try to resolve them.’

* Professor Steve Field: The quality of GP services is good

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