How good is your GP practice?


- Credit: EDP, Archant

Patients can compare GP surgeries in their area for the first time after the health watchdog published data suggesting around one in six may be falling below care standards.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) released the rankings on Monday placing all doctors surgeries in one of six bands.

Band 1 represents the lowest scores and Band 6 the highest score.

Find your surgery in the map below

Across England, more than one in 10 of the 7,661 surgeries ranked by the CQC were deemed to provide care below par.

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The CQC looked at 38 measures to decide which band to assigned the surgery. The bands are based on the proportion of indicators that have been identified as 'risk' or 'elevated risk'.

Exactly 1,200 fell into the top two priority bands, labelled the 'highest concern', based on evidence of patient experience, care and treatment from sources including major surveys and official statistics.

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Many were rated as either a 'risk' or 'elevated risk' on the checklist of 38 indicators which included poor access to appointments, deficient planning for mental health patients and insufficient cancer screenings.

But the CQC said the reports released online were not a judgment on practices' quality, which would be made only once they had been inspected, and around 3,800 were in band six, or of 'lowest concern'.

Professor Steve Field, chief inspector of general practice, said: 'There is a lot of good and outstanding care taking place across the country as our data and recent reports show.

'While it is positive that 78pc of general practices are currently a low concern based on the available data, there is no reason for complacency and standards must continue to improve.

But speaking to the Daily Telegraph, he added: 'We're also sadly finding some very poor practices. These typically are chaotic, have very poor leadership and a lack of learning culture. They also have a poor skill mix, some don't have any nurses.

'Patients could be at risk by simple things such as prescribing out-of-date medicines and vaccines.'

But Ricahrd Vautrey, deputy chairman of the British Medical Association's GP committee, said the indicators were bureaucratic targets which weren't placed in a local context.

'Publishing data with no context about a GP practice before inspectors have even arrived will at best confuse patients and at worst mislead them,' he told The Times.

On Twitter he described the league table as 'damaging and misleading'.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients' Association, said: 'We often hear about the difficulties people have trying to get an appointment with their GP. It is an area that general practice has to get right.

'Our own reports have highlighted the access that people have that matches CQC's analysis.

'We hope that CQC's work in highlighting this major issue will act as a catalyst and there will be some positive changes.'

The CQC aims to inspect all GP surgeries by March 2016, with those rated in bands one and two deemed to be the most in need of inspection. They will be inspected from next year.

To view your practice's ratings, click here.

Tell us what you think about the surgery at your practice in the comments below.

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