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CQC retracts slur on married practice teams


25 February 2012

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The Care Quality Commission (CQC) haswithdrawn an “offensive” remark claiming single-handed GPs who are related totheir practice manager pose “patient safety risks”. 

The CQC’s Director of Operations AmandaSherlock landed herself in hot water with members of the Family DoctorAssociation (FDA) while giving evidence to a House of Commons Public AccountsCommittee last month (January 2012). 


The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has withdrawn an “offensive” remark claiming single-handed GPs who are related to their practice manager pose “patient safety risks”. 

The CQC’s Director of Operations Amanda Sherlock landed herself in hot water with members of the Family Doctor Association (FDA) while giving evidence to a House of Commons Public Accounts Committee last month (January 2012). 

She told committee members husband and wife teams in single-handed practices provide a risk to patient care and safety, as “they will not recognise bad practice nor challenge each other”. 

Following a “minor uproar” among FDA members, its chair mounted a campaign to get the remark taken off the record. 

In an email to Dr Peter Swinyard, Chief Executive of the CQC Cynthia Bower – who announced her resignation yesterday (22 February) – retracted Sherlock’s statement. 

“[The] CQC does not make any assumption about direct correlation between risk to patients and size of practice – or personal relationship between GPs and practice managers,” she said. 

“Our assessment of risk will be made on a case-by-case basis based on information that we hold about individual practices.” 

Speaking to GPB, Dr Swinyard decribed Sherlock’s comments as “offensive “ and a “spectacular own goal” but claimed he was now content with the retraction. 

On Bower’s resignation, he said it was “inevitable” in light of the highly critical published and soon-to-be published reports.

Dr Swinyard said he had “no idea” who would step forward as a candidate to replace Bower, as “it is the sort of job most sensible people would run away from”.

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