Inspecting and regulating GPs and out of hours services

Published: 12 December 2013 Page last updated: 3 November 2022

Professor Steve Field, our Chief Inspector of General Practice, has set out his new approach of inspecting and regulating all GPs and out-of-hours services.

You can read full details about the changes in our document 'A fresh start for the regulation and inspection of GP practices and GP out-of-hours services' below.

A fresh start for the regulation and inspection of GP practices and GP out-of-hours services

Key changes

  • Better, more systematic use of people’s views and experiences, including suggestions and complaints.
  • New expert inspection teams including trained inspectors, clinical input led by GPs and nurses, practice managers and GP Registrars.
  • A rolling programme of inspections carried out systematically in each clinical commissioning group (CCG) area across England.
  • Inspections of GP out-of-hours services to be incorporated into CCG area programmes.
  • A focus on how general practice is provided to key patient groups, including vulnerable older people and mothers, babies and children.
  • Tougher action in response to unacceptable care, including where necessary closing down unsafe practices.
  • Ratings of all practices to help drive improvement and support people’s choice of surgery.
  • Better use of data and analysis to help us to identify risk and target our efforts.
  • Clear standards and guidance to underpin the five key questions we ask of services: are they safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led?
  • Close collaborative working CCGs and Local Area Teams of NHS England to avoid duplication of activity.

Our new approach to inspections of GPs and GP out-of-hours will start in April 2014.

Find out more

Watch this video where Professor Steve Field talks more about our new approach.

Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector for General Practice said: "We need to make sure that everyone, from the most well-off to the most disadvantaged, can get access to really good primary medical care; this is something which I intend to champion as Chief Inspector.

"When something goes wrong in general practice, it has the potential to affect thousands of local people. For example, poor storage of vaccines can lead to health problems years into the future and have a huge impact on the population as a whole.

"GPs don’t work in isolation, so we will also be considering the quality of communication between out-of-hours care and other local services, including GP practices, care homes and emergency services."