The RCGP’s call on Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to introduce an “immediate pause” in routine inspections of GP practices to relieve pressure on surgeries has the full support of IHM.
“At a time when GP surgeries are under intense pressure to meet growing demand from patients, struggling with recruitment issues and trying to work towards the government’s dream of a seven-day NHS, it isn’t hard to argue that inspection should become a lower priority than it currently is,” says Shirley Cramer, CEO of the Institute of Healthcare Management (IHM).
“This isn’t the same as saying that the concept of inspection is dead in the water, but it is clearly a form of performance measurement that needs a re-think. As it stands, IHM has serious reservations on the value of inspections that give surgeries notice to prepare for them. It is hard to believe that this is the way to ensure that inspectors see a GP practice as it is operating in the real world on a day-to-day basis.
“In a recent small survey of practice managers, 83% supported no-notice inspections.”
“Currently, 85% of GP surgeries inspected have been rated “good” or “outstanding”, which suggests there is no burning need to review the GP services on offer across the country. Of course providing safe and effective care for patients should be the number one priority, but if we are anywhere near getting the culture of the NHS right, a fast response to ‘red alerts’ from staff and patients should surely be enough.
If there really is enough cause for concern about the quality of services provided by a significant number of GP surgeries, then attempts to extend any should be stopped and all efforts concentrated on getting existing services up to the mark. However, IHM sees little evidence that this is the case.”