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Extra GP practice regulation - unnecessary red tape?

A Department of Health consultation has launched today, investigating whether GP practices should be regulated to ensure patients receive good, quality and safe care close to home.

If plans go ahead, GP practices will be required to register with the new regulator and adhere to their requirements.

GP surgeries are already monitored by PCTs but the new regulatory plans will bring them under the control of a national regulatory body, the Care Quality Commission.

Health Minister Ben Bradshaw said: "More services than ever before are now available in GP surgeries and community settings, such as those traditionally provided in hospitals, so it is essential that patients know that these services are safe and are of good quality.

"That is why we are proposing that primary care services are covered by the new regulator and are seeking views on how we best achieve this."

But the Medical Protection Society say such plans to regulate GP practise will only result in unnecessary red tape.

Medical Director Priya Singh at the Medical Protection Society said: "The majority of surgeries that we see instigate and maintain high standards.

"It is often the case that local governance is infinitely better placed to respond to the needs of local communities and individual patients.

"It would be disappointing if, at a time when the government is encouraging GPs to open longer hours and make themselves more accessible, this proposal could result in more paperwork that will keep doctors away from their patients."

Medical Protection Society

Department of Health