Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the RCGP, said:
“Patients should expect high quality and consistent care from their GP practice, and the vast majority of practices do an excellent job of delivering quality care while maintaining the highest possible standards.
“Breaches of procedure cannot be condoned – even if they are isolated incidents – but the inspections were largely targeted at particular practices which had already been identified as having problems. Specific areas for improvement have been found and the CQC must now work with these practices to ensure that they meet the necessary standards and that other practices can learn from their experiences.
“Vaccine storage and cleanliness are two very important priorities for every practice and the low rates of vaccine-preventable disease should reassure patients that there is no widespread breach of ‘cold chain’ storage for medicines.
“What the inspections do highlight, however, is the pressure that GPs and their teams are currently facing in trying to deliver safe patient care with diminishing resources.
“GPs carry out 90% of all NHS patient contacts, yet a funding black hole worth £9bn has emerged for general practice in England over the last eight years as a result of investment being shifted towards hospitals. Family doctors now receive only 8.39% of the overall UK NHS budget – yet our workloads are spiralling as the population ages and more patients are presenting with multiple and complex diseases.
“Many GPs are now routinely working 11 hour days and conducting up to 60 patient consultations in a single day. Half of GPs believe they can no longer deliver safe patient care due to increasing pressures and unsustainable workloads.”
RCGP Press office – 020 3188 7574/7575/7576
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659
Notes to editor
The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 44,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.