First CCGs to have all GP practices rated by CQC pass with flying colours

Corby and Vale Royal CCGs have become the first CCG areas to have all their GP practices visited and rated by CQC inspectors, with 100% and 91% of practices respectively achieving 'good' or 'outstanding' ratings.

Around one in three (31%) practices in England overall have been rated to date by the CQC.

Corby CCG, in the east Midlands, is the smallest CCG in England, with just five GP practices. All have been rated ‘good’ by the CQC.

Vale Royal CCG, in Cheshire, north England, is slightly larger with 12 practices. One of its practices – the Firdale Medical Centre – was rated ‘outstanding’, 10 more were rated ‘good’ and another ‘requires improvement’.

This performance puts both CCGs well above the national average, which so far has seen 83% of practices rated achieve one of the top two scores. Across England, 4% of practices were found to be ‘outstanding’, 79% ‘good’, 12% ‘requires improvement’ and 4% ‘inadequate’.

Dr Joanne Watt, clinical chairwoman of Corby CCG, said: ‘As a GP-led organisation we completely understand the crucial role played by local practices in meeting the health needs of the people of Corby. We’re therefore delighted that their hard work and high quality has been acknowledged by the CQC.’

Map: CQC GP ratings

Practices in the two CCGs will not be visited again by inspectors until at least October this year – by which time the watchdog expects to have visited all practices in England at least once – with the exception of the one rated ‘requires improvement’, which should be visited again within six months of its first inspection.

But the CQC has previously mentioned that it is considering plans to extend its re-inspection interval for high performing practices, which could mean those rated 'good' or 'outstanding' may not be inspected again until five years' time.

Seven CCGs out of the 209 across England are yet to have any of their practices rated.

GPs in the north of England appear to be the most likely to receive top ratings, with 89% of practices rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’. Practices in London are over twice as likely to be rated ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ compared to practices in the north, with 25% against 11% receiving the bottom ratings.

Upon releasing the latest release of GP practice inspection reports, CQC chief inspector Professor Steve Field said: ‘After more than 2,000 inspections we now have the evidence that the vast majority of England's GP practices are providing a service which is safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.

‘We have also found so many practices going far beyond the call of duty to care for patients to provide an "outstanding" service to their patients.

‘But, unfortunately, there are still areas of practice that are "inadequate" and unacceptable. Patients have a right to expect high quality care from every GP practice. Where improvement is required we expect the practice to take the necessary steps to address the issues and we will re-inspect at a later date to check that those improvements have been made.’

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