I was disappointed to see some of the news reports following the publication of the CQC inspection report of Bellevue GP practice, where CQC Chief Inspector of Primary Care Steve Field is a partner.
What was even more disappointing was to see the reaction from some primary care professional (see comments here) which included calls for Field to resign. The full inspection report for the practice is well worth a read.
Overall it’s a very good report and describes a service that is well led and indeed delivers outstanding care in some areas. The furore has been caused because the inspection highlighted a few specific areas where CQC felt improvements were needed, particularly around reviewing patients with prescriptions for high risk medication.
For me, far from being a resigning matter, the Bellevue inspection report is something that Field should be in no way embarrassed of. It demonstrates that even well led, caring, effective and responsive organisations need to continuously look for opportunities to improve. The NHS in general would benefit from embracing a culture more accepting of this. Highlighting problems and areas for improvement only becomes a real problem when the response is defensive and changes aren’t made.
The report clearly demonstrates that the inspection process which Field oversees is comprehensive, puts patients first, is independent and most importantly, has the integrity to hold a mirror up to the quality of care being delivered without fear or favour.
Some of us have memories of a very different looking CQC that appeared more interested in it’s own reputation than the safety and experience of the people using the services it is was there to oversee.
The Bellevue inspection is a sign of how far things have come and something Field and CQC as a whole ought to be proud of.