Exclusive: Three in four practices with low CQC rating improve within six months

Three quarters of practices rated 'requires improvement' or 'inadequate' by the CQC are able to demonstrate improvements within six months and convince inspectors to upgrade their rating, GPonline analysis of CQC reports reveals.

Of the 63 low-rated practices to have been re-inspected to date, the majority (73%) have made improvements significant enough to warrant higher ratings from CQC inspectors.

Even though not all had their overall rating upgraded, the CQC told GPonline that 90% of the practices had improved in at least one of the key questions during re-inspection.

All practices initially rated either ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ are re-assessed by the CQC within six months to check whether improvements have taken place.

So far, 38 ‘requires improvement’ practices have opened their doors to inspectors for a second time, of which four in five (79%) have been upgraded to ‘good’. Just four (11%) still require improvement, while four others failed to improve and fell to an ‘inadequate’ rating.

Of 25 ‘inadequate’ practices to be re-inspected, two thirds (64%) have since made improvements, with nearly half overall (44%) advancing to a ‘good’ score and a fifth (20%) becoming ‘requires improvement’. Over a third (36%) failed to improve their rating.

Map: CQC GP ratings

Most ‘inadequate’ practices are placed into special measures following their rating, but some of the practices were rated before this scheme was introduced. A previous GPonline investigation revealed that two thirds of special measures practices went on to improve their rating.

GPonline also recently revealed that one ‘good’ practice was upgraded to ‘outstanding’ just a few months later, after it submitted extra evidence to the CQC demonstrating improvements in the one area in which it fared poorly.

Over 2,500 GP practices have received at least one rating so far, accounting for around one in three of every practice in England.

Including the re-ratings, over 85% of GP practices now hold a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ rating, with just one in nine (11%) ‘requires improvement’ and 4% ‘inadequate’.

CQC’s chief inspector of general practice, Professor Steve Field, said: ‘We’re delighted that so many of the practices that gave us cause for concern have improved the quality of care that they provide for their patients.

‘This is really good news for the patients that they serve and for all of those who work in the many surgeries that have pulled together, who can be proud of their achievements. Ultimately, this shows that inspection helps practices to improve patient care.’

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