GP inspections based on best available data

Published: 17 November 2014 Page last updated: 3 November 2022

We have published for the first time information on every GP surgery in England so that we are transparent on how we decide which surgeries to inspect.

The ‘intelligent monitoring’ of general practices are made up of different types of evidence on patient experience, care and treatment, based on sources including surveys and official statistics.

They help CQC decide how it should prioritise its inspections under its new and in-depth regime, which it rolled out formally last month. This is so that it can be confident that people receive care that is safe, caring, effective, responsive to their needs, and well-led.

It is part of CQC’s new regulatory approach that features specialist inspection teams, including GPs or practice nurses and trained members of the public who inspect services against what matters most to people who use them. We have been using evidence to prioritise the inspections of acute NHS trusts since last October.

We can only judge the quality of care within a service once it has been inspected. Our analysis indicates what services appear to be doing well, alongside where people may not be receiving high-quality and compassionate care.

Today’s analysis of over 7,200 practices reveals that almost eight out of ten surgeries in England appear to be of low concern. Almost 3,800 are in the lowest category.

The publication follows our announcement of the first general practices to be awarded ratings of outstanding – Salford Health Matters in Eccles and Irlam Medical Practice 2 in Salford.

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.

“It is important to remember that the data is not a judgement as it is only when we inspect we can determine if a practice provides safe, high-quality and compassionate care. “The data is a further tool that will help us to decide where to inspect and when.”

Dr Charles Alessi, Co-chairman of the National Association of Primary Care, said:

"We welcome the emphasis on transparency and quality in the new inspection regime for General Practice.

"The fact that outstanding practice has already been identified is very encouraging and we looking forward to working closely with CQC to further develop models of monitoring to both lessen the burden of inspection and enrich the experience on the practices."

CQC has produced thirty-eight indicators on whether patients at the surgery could be at ‘risk’ or ‘elevated risk’ beyond what would be expected normally for each of these.

CQC has then placed every practice into bandings from one (highest perceived concern) to six (lowest perceived concern) to help plan inspections from next year.

You can search for the report of your local GP on our website, as well as an inforgraphic that gives further information.