More than one in seven GP practices are under-performing in key safety areas, putting patient health at risk, an investigation has found.
According to inspections of 7,365 practices by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), some 13% of surgeries are identified as requiring improvement and 2% are rated inadequate for safety.
The report revises earlier safety inspection results for GP practices in Britain, that found 27% requiring improvement and 6% rated inadequate for safety.
However, after six months, 100 practices have been closed by the CQC.
Smaller surgeries pose risk
While patients prefer the one-on-one care provided by a specific GP, smaller practices are deemed more likely to be rated inadequate or requiring improvement.
The report reads: “Our qualitative analysis indicated that the factors that inhibited a higher rating for a smaller practice could be related to financial pressures and professional or clinical isolation.”
Larger practices and “super surgeries” fare better, according to the report, with workers having clearly defined roles and nursing teams having specialisms such as such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or diabetes.
The report covers inspections over a three-year period, from May 2014. Inspection areas include safety, effectiveness, care and whether a surgery is “well led”.
Overall, one in 10 surgeries are rated good or outstanding by the CQC.
Of the 10% that are under-performing overall, 8% are rated as requiring improvement and 2% were inadequate.
London has the largest number of GP surgeries (17%) rated as inadequate or requiring improvement, with the South East and West Midlands also being areas of concern.
Comparatively, 98% of practices in the North East rated as good and outstanding, with surgeries in the South West and Yorkshire and the Humber closely following.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Nearly 90% of GP surgeries in England have been rated as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ and that is a huge achievement for GPs given the pressures on the frontline.”
Reference: Bournemouth Echo
Date Published: October 11, 2017
Author: Jonathan Brown