GPC negotiator Dr Dean Marshall asked Mr Hunt at a GMC conference in Manchester on 12 December if he backed the watchdog’s decision to publicise failures identified by its general practice inspection regime.
The CQC revealed on Thursday that around one in 100 GP practices inspected have 'serious failings' and could be forced to close unless they improve.
‘We need to recognise that we are going through a transition period in the NHS,’ Mr Hunt told Dr Marshall. ‘When you lift the lid off the bonnet for the first time it is incredibly difficult.’
Dr Marshall told the conference that negative press coverage of GP practices following the CQC report on its inspections did not give an accurate picture of the state of general practice.
But Mr Hunt said staff morale was starting to rise in hospitals put in special measures by the CQC.
The health secretary said there was far too much variation between the best and worst NHS providers, although he acknowledged that NHS staff are working hard.
‘There is certainly that recognition from me. If you have been standing on your feet for 11 hours, it is harder to be compassionate because you are knackered,' he said.
‘There is that recognition from the government because we have protected the NHS budget. That was a big decision. I do think it is wrong to say this is all about money.’