NHS 'was too powerful to criticise'

The National Health Service "became too powerful to criticise" with even the most senior staff afraid of speaking out despite millions of patients receiving a "wholly unsatisfactory" service from GPs and hospitals, the official regulator has said.

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'Chronic underinvestment' in general practice

The GP workforce is already stretched to the limit, the chair of the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) has said, after the chairman of the Care Quality Commission, warned that the NHS had "become too powerful to criticise". Dr Maureen Baker said:

We are pleased the need for investment in primary and community care to stop people needing to go hospital is being recognised, but we totally refute that access to GPs is currently 'wholly unsatisfactory'.

We understand that patients get frustrated if they cannot get a GP appointment when they want one and this is the product of chronic underinvestment in general practice.

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Jeremy Hunt 'crazy' for calling hospital chiefs

David Prior, the chairman of the Care Quality Commission branded Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt "crazy" for telephoning round hospital chief executives who had missed A&E targets, in an interview with The Daily Telegraph.

There is an obsession. It's crazy to have a Secretary of State doing that.

Of course he's doing it, because he's held accountable but what it all leads to is more money being put into A&E departments when that money should probably be put into primary and community care to stop people falling ill.

– David Prior, chairman of the Care Quality Commission

Health regulator: NHS became too powerful to criticise

The National Health Service "became too powerful to criticise" with even the most senior staff afraid of speaking out despite millions of patients receiving a "wholly unsatisfactory" service from GPs and hospitals, the official regulator has said.

The NHS 'became too powerful to criticise' David Prior, chair of the official regulator CQC, has said. Credit: PA

David Prior, the chairman of the Care Quality Commission, warned that the service's perceived status as a "national religion" fuelled the problem and had left some areas of care "out of control" because honesty about failings was not tolerated.

"It became too powerful to criticise," he told The Daily Telegraph. "When things were going wrong people didn't say anything. If you criticised the NHS - the attitude was how dare you?

"No organisation should be put on such a high pedestal that it is beyond criticism. Now it is getting more honest about our failings - which I think makes it more likely that we will address them."

Mr Prior called for the "out of control" system of emergency care to be made a priority for reform and said it was "wholly unsatisfactory" that so many patients struggled to get an appointment with their GP.

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