General practitioner England

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Call for CQC chief Steve Field to resign

GP leaders have called for the resignation of chief inspector of general practice Steve Field for making ‘unjustified comments’ undermining the role of the profession.

The BMA GPs committee today expressed no confidence in CQC (Care Quality Commission) chief inspector of general practice Professor Field (pictured), himself a GP, who was reported by The Daily Mail as saying general practice had ‘failed’ as a profession.

GPC chair Chaand Nagpaul said that today’s vote was a reflection of the anger felt by GPs over Professor Field’s comments, adding that many felt the CQC’s inspection regime was not ‘fit for purpose’.

He said: ‘This motion demonstrates the dismay and anger felt by dedicated, hard-working GPs across England following the recent unjustified comments made by the chief inspector of general practice at the CQC.

‘When the vast majority of practices are managing to maintain high-quality care against all odds in the face of falling resources, staff shortages and rising patient demand, the chief inspector should be vocally supporting GP services and not undermining them.’

Dr Nagpaul added: ‘If a GP practice is found to be struggling, immediate action needs to be taken to ensure that it is supported to improve the quality of care that practice delivers. It does not need to be attacked, especially as in many cases problems that do occur are due to resource or infrastructure constraints.’

Professor Field, who earlier this week appeared alongside Dr Nagpaul and Royal College of GPs council chair Maureen Baker in front of the Commons health select committee, had been reported as saying he was ashamed by the poor standards of care being delivered by some GP surgeries.

However, Dr Nagpaul said that such shortcomings had to be viewed in the context of mounting patient demand and underinvestment in general practice, adding that bureaucratic inspection processes did little to improve standards.

Dr Nagpaul said: ‘It is clear the CQC inspection regime is not fit for purpose. The current process is disproportionate, expensive and bureaucratic, and takes GPs and their staff away from spending time looking after their patients.

‘The CQC inspection process needs wholesale reform urgently in order to restore the confidence of the profession and stop GPs wasting their time on pointless processes and paperwork when they should be treating patients.’

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