doctors waiting listOne in 10 family doctors' surgeries inspected since April have serious issues such as a lack of availability which need to be addressed, according to the new chief inspector of GPs.

Prof Steve Field, who took up the post at the start of this month, told a conference that 10 per cent of the 600 practices inspected since April are not up to standard, according to the Daily Telegraph.

He is currently overseeing an audit of the nation's 7,607 GP surgeries, with inspectors scheduled to visit every practice in the country over the coming two years.

Prof Field, the NHS's first chief inspector of GPs, said last month that too many surgeries are failing to respond to patients' needs, for example over when GPs are available, and trouble securing same-day appointments.
In an interview with The Guardian, he claimed that he was not afraid to close down GP surgeries which were found to be unsafe, difficult to access, or which fail to treat patients properly and with dignity. 

However, he later emphasised in an interview with Pulse magazine that many of the practices targeted in the first round of inspections had already declared that they were failing to meet Care Quality Commission standards, and that he believes the overall percentage of the country's surgeries which need major improvements is "tiny".

Prof Field, the former chair of the Royal College of GPs, was speaking at Best Practice 2013, a primary care event for doctors and clinical commissioners taking place in Birmingham.
In a keynote address, he held up Ofsted, the inspector of schools, as a model for medical regulation and good governance, claiming that "a lot of what Ofsted has done forms the philosophy of the CQC".

He said the CQC should be modelled on Ofsted's recent successful approach to school inspections, rather than tactics which were employed under earlier leadership. In the 1990s Chris Woodhead, the chief inspector of schools, claimed that 15,000 teachers in Britain were incompetent and should be sacked.

Prof Field argued that the CQC should be focused on "looking at excellence rather than minimal standards", and said that the inspection system which he oversees "isn't a witch hunt in any way".

He dismissed suggestions from the audience that an inspection approach modelled on Ofsted could have a demoralising effect on family doctors. Prof Field, who was appointed by the CQC to oversee the care provided by GPs in England, has previously stated that access to family doctors is not good enough, and that the public ought to be able to see a GP seven days a week.

He has suggested that practices in the same area would form federations, taking it in turns to provide care on Saturdays and Sundays for all local patients, but doctors' leaders criticised the plans, saying there are already too few GPs to meet their current workload without adding extra hours.