PRESS RELEASE: The Care Quality Commissions publications – Intelligent Monitoring of GP Practices
21 November 2014, Email sent by Wessex LMCs, on Friday, 21 Nov 2014 to all Local Press Offices & MPs
The Care Quality Commissions publications – Intelligent Monitoring of GP practices. . .
The quality of care provided to our patients is of paramount importance and where poor quality is identified this must be addressed. The Local Medical Committee supports openness and transparency and works hard to support and help GPs and practices to provide high quality care.
The new “Intelligent Monitoring Reports” forms part of the Care Quality Commissions new regime of regulation and inspection of general practice. There are 38 indicators that are used to grade practices from Band 1 to Band 6 – Band 1 being the highest concern to Band 6 the lowest concern. For each indicator a practice is graded at being "better than average", "average" or "worse than average".
This week CQC have deemed that about 12% of practices in England are in Band 1 – and therefore fall into the “high concern” category. This suggestion is not backed up by CQC’s own data, following inspection of general practice that has been ongoing for over a year, where the number of practices that require “enforcement” notices is very small. Some very good practices locally, who are deemed to be at “high risk”, have been shocked and angered by this assessment with one GP saying “their emotions ranged from incandescent rage to utter despair” and many believe this is not only demoralising for their staff but will have a negative impact on their patients.
One local practice that has been identified as “failing” has 37 of the 38 indicators recognised as "average" or "above average", with only one indicator identified as "worse than average". This particular indicator being the percentage of Ibuprofen and Naproxen they prescribe as a percentage of all non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. (In statistical terms of course, 50% of all practices will be worse than the median value, irrespective of how good they all are). By any fair and reasonable measure, this does not mean that this practice is “failing” or a "high risk". In fact, it is an excellent practice that is well organised and has a team of dedicated and caring GPs, any of whom I would be very happy to have as my own GP.
Other practices locally are deemed to be “failing” or graded as “high risk” are because of their very low diagnosis rates of cancer, heart disease and chronic obstructive respiratory disease. When you look more closely at these practices, they are University Practices and the vast majority of their patients are aged 30 or less. Therefore, you would not expect to have many patients in these groups so you could hardly say they are a “failing” practice.
It has also become clear that for some practices the information is either out of date or the data is wrong. Several practice reports appear to have been removed from the CQC website presumably because of errors.
As GPs we are not perfect, we are only human, over a million people will see their GP today (that is about 340,000,000 patients seen in general practice every year – an increase from 240,000,000 in 2004). Practices are under significant pressure in terms of workload. Please help us to help you, work with your GP and Practice and if you are not happy with the standard of care you are receiving discuss it with your practice.
The patient satisfaction surveys repeatedly show a very high level of satisfaction with general practice. In today’s society we are quick to complain and slow to praise – if you are happy with the quality of care you receive from your practice, tell them. It has such a positive impact on the practice team who are responsible for delivering your care.
Albert Einstein said “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”
Dr Nigel Watson
Wessex Local Medical Committees Ltd
Churchill House, 122-124 Hursley Road,
Chandler's Ford, Eastleigh,
Hampshire, SO53 1JB
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