cqcGP practices offering poor levels of care face being put into ‘special measures’ and given deadlines to improve, the care inspectorate has announced. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) also say those which repeatedly fail face closure.

More than 8,000 NHS GP practices will be inspected and rated from October this year. Practices will be rated as outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate depending upon the outcome of the inspection. The CQC has said it will work closely with partners in NHS England, the General Medical Council and Royal College of GPs to pilot special measures.

Practices rated as ‘inadequate’ will be given 6 months to improve the service. If they fail to do this they will then be placed in special measures and given a further 6 months to meet the required standard.

If, by the end of this six months, the practice is still believed to be providing a sub-par service the CQC will cancel their registration and their contract with NHS England will be terminated.

Additionally, practices which are deemed to be putting patients at risk or which is not capable of improving on its own, will be put straight into special measures. The plans bring GP practices into line with the other care sectors.

Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of General Practice, said: “Most GP practices provide good care. We have confirmed this in our pilot inspections so far. But we can't allow those that provide poor care to continue to let their patients have an inadequate service. I want to do all I can to drive up standards in those that are not providing the services people deserve. We need to have a clear framework and a process to respond to those GP practices that are providing inadequate care to ensure that they can't continue to provide inadequate care indefinitely.

“When health and care organisations fail the people to whom they provide care, it's important that failure is identified quickly and the action is to ensure services for people improve. That sits at the heart of special measures.”