UK & World News
Medical Chiefs 'Call Time On Failing GP Services'
GP services that continue to offer poor care to patients will be shut down, health regulators have said.
Surgeries are set to receive Ofsted-style ratings - where they will be deemed to be outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate.
The Care Quality Commission's (CQC) chief inspector of general practice, Professor Steve Field, said from October failing practices will face being put into special measures.
Those given the lowest rating face closure if they fail to make the necessary improvements.
"Most GP practices provide good care," Prof Field said.
"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."
The regime could also see more doctors referred to the doctors' regulator, the General Medical Council (GMC).
Niall Dickson, chief executive of the GMC, added: "Whenever CQC's new inspection system raises concerns about the competency of individual GPs, the matter will be referred to the GP's local responsible officer and if necessary to the GMC.
"Family doctors are now subject to regular checks, but the inspections in England are bound to expose areas of weakness as well as good practice."
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the British Medical Association's GP committee said: "It is important not to create a counter-productive blame culture based on isolated examples that would wrongly damage patient trust in wider GP services.
"We need to focus on providing support and enabling improvement in those GP practices that need help."