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Views And Reviews

Too much scrutiny is bad for general practice

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: (Published 19 April 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i2151
  1. Mary McCarthy,
  2. GP
  1. Shrewsbury
  1. mary.mccarthy{at}

The UK is almost alone in Europe with its micromanagement of primary care

In Ireland there’s a saying: “You don’t increase the weight of a pig by weighing it.” But that’s how it feels in UK general practice right now. We’re almost alone in Europe, with our government’s entrenched belief that the more boxes we tick or the more appraisals and inspections we carry out, the better general practice will become. Yet the atmosphere of distrust and endless bureaucracy surrounding general practice in the United Kingdom is bad for doctors and, ultimately, for patients too.

The gap between the English system and that in other European states became obvious at a recent meeting of the European Union of General Practitioners, where, as a BMA representative, I described the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) inspection process. Questions and comments afterwards highlighted this disparity. …

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