GPs, like A&E, are a first port of call for patients. Although they will usually have wide experience you would not necessarily expect a diagnosis to be made by them but you do expect they will know enough to refer a patient on in the appropriate case and to the correct specialist.

Complaints and claims in relation to GPs that we consider often relate to a delay in making the appropriate referral which may then lead to a delay in diagnosis.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) monitor and inspect GP surgeries. They have recently ranked nearly every GP surgery in England in terms of the risk that they will provide poor care. They used 38 different indicators to rank practices into 6 bands with band 1 being practices of the highest concern and band 6 being practices with the least risk. 1,200 of the 7,500 practices the CQC ranked were in the lowest bands, 1 and 2.

The CQC have a very useful page on their website that allows the general public to see the score that their surgery has received and to read the CQC’s comments on the 38 risk factors that they take into account when ranking a GP practice. You can also read the CQC’s Inspection Reports for any particular surgery.