Map: How CQC ratings for general practice vary across England

An overwhelming 95% of GP practices in England are rated either 'good' or 'outstanding' by the CQC. GPonline's latest heatmap looks at how practices rated below this level are spread across the country.

With 19 out of 20 GP practices across England rated either 'good' or 'outstanding' overall by the CQC, just 350 are currently rated either 'requires improvement' or 'inadequate', figures from the watchdog show. Just 4% of GP practices in England are rated 'requires improvement' and only 1% have been labelled 'inadequate' by the CQC.

Standards in general practice compare favourably with other parts of the health service - among hospitals, the watchdog's inspectors have marked 24% 'requires improvement' and 2% 'inadequate'.

But lower-rated GP practices are not spread evenly across the country, analysis by GPonline confirms. Although nearly one in three CCGs can boast that every practice in their area is rated 'good' or 'outstanding', in other CCG areas as many as one in four practices are rated either 'requires improvement' or 'inadequate'.

In NHS North Hampshire CCG, 27% of practices are rated either 'requires improvement' or 'inadequate' - the highest proportion of any CCG in England. However, with just 15 GP practices in the CCG in total, a single 'inadequate' rating and three rated 'requires improvement' have a huge impact on the CCG-wide figure.

In NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG - the largest in England with 152 GP practices - 14 are rated 'requires improvement' and two are 'inadequate', giving it more than twice the national average proportion of practices in the bottom two rating categories.

Six CCG areas have three practices rated inadequate - the highest in the country. In both NHS Swindon and NHS Hastings and Rother this is equivalent to 14% of all practices in the area.

CQC ratings

A glance at GPonline's recent map of CCG areas with the most patients per GP - which shows what may be some of the most 'underdoctored' parts of the country - shows that there is some broad correlation between low CQC ratings and high numbers of patients per GP.

As well as factors such as workforce shortages, funding and practice size are strongly linked to CQC ratings. Analysis by this website in 2017 revealed that practices rated outstanding were paid around 32% more than their 'inadequate' counterparts.

GPonline has also published analysis showing that factors including deprivation, practice size, geographical location and more appear to have a major influence on ratings.

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