PATIENTS across the region are more likely to see a good GP practice than anywhere else in the country according to a report on the quality of GP practices.

In the first performance review of its kind, The Care Quality Commission (CQC) scored more than 7,000 GP surgeries between 2014 and May this year against a series of indicators including whether they were effective, caring, safe and well-led.

The North East fared best, with seven per cent rated outstanding and 91 per cent good and one per cent both inadequate and requiring improvement. It was followed closely by Yorkshire and The Humber where seven per cent were outstanding and just 0.5 per cent inadequate.

Nationally 90 per cent of practices were found to be good or outstanding, eight per cent required improvement and two per cent were deemed inadequate overall.

The regional disparities are most apparent when the North is compared to London which had the highest rate of practices, 17 per cent, in the bottom two ratings.

The CQC said one in seven practices failed on safety even after inspectors told them to improve and nationally just one per cent of practices were rated as outstanding for safety in May. Big practices tended to do better than smaller ones, though cities had more problems than rural settings.

Some strong points from the region were highlighted in the report.

A computerised system has helped Cestria Health Centre in Chester-le-Street to reduce antibiotic prescribing and inspectors, who said the best practices encourage and involve staff, highlighted Shinwell Medical Centre, in Peterlee, for empowering staff by listening to their ideas and communicating priorities.

Professor Steve Field, chief inspector of general practice at the CQC, said the "clear majority" of practices were safe and of a high quality.

"Where we identified concerns, most practices have taken action and improved," he said. "GPs, practice managers and other primary care staff should be commended for their efforts.

"The challenge is for this focus on quality to be maintained and for general practice to be supported in continuing to give patients this same high standard of care in future while embracing and driving the changes elsewhere in the system.

"The pressures on GPs are very real but we have found many practices are already delivering care in new and innovative ways to benefit their patients and the wider community."

Joseph Chandy, director of primary care at Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "We are delighted to hear that the North East has the largest percentage of practices rated as good or outstanding.

"In DDES CCG all of our practices received a rating of good and two practices, Shinwell Medical Group and Southdene Medical Centre, were rated as outstanding.

"This encourages us to continue to support all practices to develop closer integrated working between GPs, the local authority, voluntary and private sector providers.

"This new model called Primary Care Home will deliver continued high quality services across health and social care."