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‘Inadequate’ practices tend to have fewer nurses

Practices rated as inadequate tend to be those with fewer nurses on the team, despite a relatively large practice income, according to the CQC’s chief inspector of general practice, Professor Steve Field.

Speaking at the Best Practice event in Birmingham, Professor Field was pressed by the audience to give examples of inadequate practices. He described having a small number of nurses despite a large practice income as one of the trends he had noticed contributing to an ‘inadequate’ rating, as well as having out of date medicines.

But he stressed that high ratings were not all about investment, but about ‘great practice’.

He said: ‘It is important to share great practice which is not necessarily about investment. But the only way you can do it is by having outstanding leadership.

‘Excellent care can be delivered by breaking populations of 30,000 patients into smaller groups and offering them care from a range of professionals.’

When quizzed by one GP about the inconsistent nature of the CQC ratings, Professor Field acknowledged that the process needed improving.

He said: ‘The inspection process has not been as consistent as it should be, but training is in place and inadequate services have gone through many levels of quality assurance’.

Hugo Minney, the chief executive of TyneHealth in the North East, whose group has five practices with the top ranking from the CQC, believed you didn’t have to offer extra services to be rated as outstanding.

‘One of the things that is key is having a stable team,’ he said. ‘Nurses work with a limited number of GPs, so patients see the same nurse and GPs have dedicated receptionists. It’s about having a relationship, so you see the same people.’