Eighty-six percent of GP practices in England have been rated as ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission’s following completion of its first full inspection programme of general practices.

At the end of the programme, four percent were rated also rated as outstanding, but eight percent were rated as requires improvement and two percent as inadequate overall, which means that one in 10 practices overall need to improve the quality of care.

The watchdog noted that the figures are an improvement from the first ratings awarded to practices, before any re-inspections, when 13 percent were rated as requires improvement and a further four percent were classed inadequate.

The inspections “have helped to highlight problems and ensure that these are addressed - not only for the benefit of patients, but to improve and support the profession,” noted Professor Steve Field, chief inspector of General Practice. “Where we found concerns, we have taken action to protect the public by re-inspecting to follow up the necessary improvements.”

He went on to say that the CQC will use the learning from inspections “to refine our approach to regulating general practice in England, which will be reflected in our Next Phase of regulation.

“On the ground, this will result in a greater focus on outcomes for patients and understanding of where quality of care is changing, while at the same time sharing what we know about what works well and what challenges remain.”

Responding to the CQC's report, Professor Martin Marshall, vice chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “At a time when general practice is facing intense resource and workforce pressures, the findings of this report are testament to the hard work and dedication of GPs to work innovatively, and deliver the best possible care for patients.

"However, the fact that GPs are rising to the challenge in the face of ever-increasing demand, does not make it sustainable - we urgently need more investment in general practice, and thousands more GPs, as pledged in NHS England's GP Forward View.”