GP practices more than twice as likely as hospitals to win top CQC ratings

GP practices are more than twice as likely to be rated 'good' or 'outstanding' by the CQC, the watchdog's first report on the state of health and social care across England under its current ratings system reveals.

By May 2015, 85% of GP practices had been rated good or outstanding by the CQC, compared with just 38% of hospital and other NHS trusts. The CQC report says the strong performance of general practice in the face of rising pressure on its services 'is something to be celebrated'.

The figures for practices' CQC ratings are broadly in line with updated figures available through GPonline's interactive map of CQC ratings by CCG, which shows that the proportion of practices winning the top two ratings has now fallen slightly to 84%.

Although the vast majority of GP practices rated by the CQC are performing well, the watchdog's report says its inspectors have been 'shocked' by the 4% of practices rated inadequate to date.

Map: GP CQC ratings

Inspections have highlighted a strong link between good leadership and good care, and warned that practices rated inadequate 'suffer from poor leadership and a failure to focus on what they need to do to improve.

The report calls for an improvement in the safety culture at GP practices, highlighting cases of a lack of learning from significant events, poor medicines management and poor incident reporting.

It points out that practices deliver better quality of care when they are tied into wider networks, and warns against 'professional isolation'.

The CQC report highlights 'increasing strain' on general practice and wider primary care services.

Pressure on GPs

'As well as tackling financial challenges, GPs are under pressure to effectively manage the rising demand on their services,' the report says. 'An ageing population, more people with multiple health conditions and an increase in people living with long-term conditions...are all placing a high demand on GPs across the country.

'Pressure is also mounting from a rise in the number of patients registered with a GP and the number of unfilled GP posts. With fewer people entering the profession...and 34% of GPs considering retirement in the next five years, the sector faces pressure to ensure that existing workforce numbers are sufficient to meet the current demand.'

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