GP PRACTICES are being put under intolerable pressure at the expense of patient care, a doctor has claimed.

All surgeries must be inspected by the Care Quality Commission, having to pay more than £2,000 each time for the compulsory visit.

Dr Krishna Chaturvedi, from the Southbourne Grove surgery, in Westcliff, is still waiting for the results of his latest inspection six weeks after it took place.

He believes the "box ticking" visits eat up time which could be better spent caring for patients, with small surgeries with fewer administrative staff being the worst hit.

He said: "It's nothing but a box-ticking exercise, an expensive white elephant. These inspectors spend million staying in hotels and for what?

"They come and see that we have the relevant documents and ensure they are properly up to date and that staff are Disclosure and Barring Service checked. It is nothing to do with patient care."

Dr Chaturvedi said surgery staff have to spend an inordinate amount of time ensuring paperwork is up to date or risk being shut down.

He said: "All the time we have to spend on this is never taken into consideration. Small GP surgeries are being pushed out because they are given less resources than the large practises. Leigh Primary Care Centre and North Road Primary Care Centre in Westcliff are among big practices that have been given a lot of investment but they have taken money from small practices. They are asking us to run a Rolls Royce service on a mini budget."

The inspections rate surgeries in a similar way as Ofsted rates schools.

Surgeries can be ranked as outstanding, requiring improvement or be placed in special measures - often just because paperwork is not sufficiently up to date.

Dr Chaturvedi said: "It cost us £2,2000 to be inspected. If GPs refuse they are shut down on the spot and there is no guidance on how to appeal.

"It's very difficult because so much money, time and energy goes into getting ready for these inspections. It felt like we were getting ready for a royal visit.

"Our inspection was six weeks ago and we still have no idea when we are getting our report."

Sir David Amess, MP for Southend West, has vowed to fight for small GP surgeries.

He said: "I don’t think anyone would have an argument with the concept of inspection, without inspecting public bodies governance is futile. However, we must not lose sight of why the National Health Service was created in the first place and who it is to benefit.

"I have the highest regard for small surgeries and inspections should not be weighted against small surgeries as opposed to the larger ones. If I have more evidence of this discrimination I will not hesitate to make representations to the chief executive of the Care Quality Commission."

The Echo put Dr Chaturvedi's claims to the commission but did not receive a response before going to print.