CQC responds to call for Professor Steve Field to resign

CQC chief executive David Behan has spoken out in defence of the watchdog's chief inspector Professor Steve Field after calls for him to resign over comments about GP quality.

The GPC voted in support of a motion calling on Professor Field to resign on Thursday, and the RCGP had earlier demanded that he apologise for claiming that pockets of poor quality general practice meant the profession had failed.

But Mr Behan hit back at the criticism. 'We know from our inspections the majority of GPs we have inspected provide good or outstanding care – and CQC highlight this fact every week. In his evidence this week to the health select committee, Professor Field referred to "fantastic practices delivering excellent care". However, there is a small minority of practices where care is inadequate and, in some cases, dangerous. This variation must be addressed.

'Our inspections are already having an impact - since October 2014 CQC has published over 2,200 reports and we have needed to re-inspect 102 surgeries. 93% of these re-inspections have shown that practices have improved in at least one of the key questions that we inspect against. This improvement is great news for patients.

"Over three quarters (76%) of GP practices and out-of-hours services agree that their inspection provided a thorough review of whether they were safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led. And nearly three-fifths (59%) of GP practices and out-of-hours services said that their inspection report had assisted in driving improvement.

"The work we do in both celebrating good practice and exposing poor practice is vital and we would expect everyone involved in the delivery of health and social care to support this work.

Map: GP CQC ratings

'There can be no improvement without genuine transparency. Sometimes this will involve telling uncomfortable truths. Refusing to acknowledge problems and blaming those who expose concerns neither supports the profession or protects patients. I make no apology that CQC acts in the interest of people who use services.

'We know from our work real change and improvement comes from an open debate about what’s working well and what isn’t. That’s what the public expect from CQC and it’s what we will continue to do.'

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