GP LEADERS in the doctors’ union, the BMA, yesterday backed a ‘no confidence’ vote in the Care Quality Commission (CQC) chief inspector Professor Steve Field and demanded his resignation.

The vote by the General Practitioners Committee (GPC) comes just hours after the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) chairwoman Dr Maureen Baker warned that the profession had lost confidence in the CQC chief inspector, and called on him to apologise for ‘baffling and unfounded’ claims about general practice.

GPs have spoken out strongly against Professor Field after he said last week to the capitalist press that poor care by a minority of practices showed GPs ‘had failed as a profession’ – reiterating comments he made in October at the RCGP conference.

GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘This motion demonstrates the dismay and anger felt by dedicated hardworking GPs across England following the recent unjustified comments made by the chief inspector of general practice at the CQC.

‘When the vast majority of practices are managing to maintain high quality care against all odds, in the face of falling resources, staff shortages and rising patient demand, the chief inspector should be vocally supporting GP services and not undermining them.

‘It is clear that the CQC inspection regime is not fit for purpose. The current process is disproportionate, expensive and bureaucratic, and takes GPs and their staff away from spending time looking after their patients. It includes endless amounts of pointless paperwork, such as box ticking exercises aimed at scrutinising the details of internal practice meetings.

‘The CQC has already had to perform a U-turn this year over its widely discredited risk banding programme which formed judgments before inspectors had even arrived at a practice. If a GP practice is found to be struggling, immediate action needs to be taken to ensure that it is supported to improve the quality of care that practice delivers.

‘It does not need to be attacked, especially as in many cases problems that do occur are due to resource or infrastructure constraints. The CQC inspection process needs wholesale reform urgently in order to restore the confidence of the profession and stop GPs wasting their time on pointless processes and paperwork when they should be treating patients.’

• The London Regional Executive Committee of the BMA is holding a meeting on Tuesday 22nd December in support of the junior doctors’ struggle. The Committee has carried a motion declaring: ‘We see the Junior Doctors’ struggle as leading the fight for safe and fair contracts for all doctors and NHS staff and in the defending the NHS. Your fight is our fight.’