GPonline readers urge CQC chief inspector to resign

Nine out of 10 GPonline readers believe the CQC's chief inspector of general practice should resign after blunders over practice risk ratings, an online poll reveals.

Professor Steve Field: anger over risk ratings (Photo: Pete Hill)
Professor Steve Field: anger over risk ratings (Photo: Pete Hill)

After nearly four days of voting, 242 votes had been cast, with 89.7% of respondents calling on Professor Steve Field to step down.

The finding came after the CQC was forced into a U-turn over its ‘intelligent monitoring’ system just three weeks after publishing risk ratings for every GP practice in England.

A change in the way patient survey data is assessed by the CQC tool led to 60 practices initially placed in higher-risk bands being downgraded to lower-risk categories.

CQC inspections

CQC inspectors are yet to visit the vast majority of practices. Risk scores have been derived from publicly available data including QOF scores.

GP leaders have called for the monitoring system to be scrapped, warning that its risk ratings do not accurately reflect practice quality.

The 1,200 practices placed in high risk categories under the system were labelled as ‘failing’ in local and national media, despite CQC claims that the tool was not a judgment on practices, but merely intended to help it decide where inspectors should visit first.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘I think it’s no surprise that GPs are very angry about what’s been happening and want to see some action.’

Risk ratings must go

He repeated calls for the CQC to drop the risk ratings system.

Dr Vautrey refused to echo calls for Professor Field to resign, warning that the problem was ‘much bigger than one individual’.

He added that GP leaders had warned the health secretary and the CQC about the dangers of presenting misleading information to patients.

‘Clearly the organisation hasn’t listened. They need to do so and learn very quickly from this incident, and work with us to avoid it happening again.’

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