Sir Ian Kennedy joins The King's Fund's inquiry into the quality of general practice

The King's Fund has announced today that Sir Ian Kennedy, former Chairman of the Healthcare Commission, will take over as Chair of The King's Fund's inquiry into the quality of general practice in England. Sir Ian replaces the Fund's Chief Executive, Niall Dickson, who is stepping down from the role ahead of his departure to become Chief Executive at the General Medical Council in January 2010.

Sir Ian will chair the inquiry panel, which was established in April 2009 and consists of Dr Michael Dixon, Chair of the NHS Alliance; Professor Steve Field, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners; Professor Martin Roland, Professor of Health Service Research at University of Cambridge; Dr Rebecca Rosen, a GP, Senior Associate of The King's Fund and Senior Fellow at the Nuffield Trust; and Ursula Gallagher, Director of Quality, Clinical Governance and Clinical Practice at NHS Ealing.  

Led by Sir Ian, the panellists are working to build up a picture of what high-quality care looks like, establish the role of GPs in delivering services and explore how GPs can be supported to improve care. They are examining a number of key areas, including patients' access to care, the quality of diagnosis and referral, and how patients with long-term conditions are cared for.

Sir Ian Kennedy said:

'I am delighted to lead this inquiry – it is vital that we develop more effective ways of measuring the quality of care delivered by our GPs and other primary care professionals. On the whole they provide excellent care but we know standards are not universally high. By investigating how care is delivered in general practice, this inquiry aims to both shed light on patients' perspectives of the care they receive, and to establish how professional practice can be improved to meet and exceed those patients' expectations.'

The inquiry will shortly launch a major survey to explore the views of GPs, other primary care professionals and patients about the quality of care delivered in general practice. This will be followed by an extensive engagement phase, in early 2010, in which findings from the inquiry's research projects will be 'road tested' through a series of events with professionals before the final report is published later in the year.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Find out more about The King’s Fund’s inquiry into the quality of general practice in England.
  2. Professor Sir Ian Kennedy LL.D, Emeritus Professor of Health Law, Ethics and Policy at University College London, has specialised in health law and policy for over 30 years. He most recently chaired the Healthcare Commission, before its conversion to the Care and Quality Commission early this year. During his time at the Commission, Sir Ian worked to improve standards across the NHS through access to information and knowledge for patients, clinicians and managers. Prior to joining the Commission, Sir Ian was an academic lawyer specialising in the ethics of medicine. He is, perhaps, best known as the leader of the public enquiry into the excessive deaths in children's heart surgery at the Bristol Royal Infirmary (1998–2001). This report contributed to the establishment of the Healthcare Commission in 2002.
  3. For further information or interviews, please contact The King’s Fund press and public affairs office on 020 7307 2585 or 020 7307 2632. An ISDN line is available for interviews on 020 7637 0185.
  4. The King’s Fund is a charity that seeks to understand how the health system in England can be improved. Using that insight, we help to shape policy, transform services and bring about behaviour change. Our work includes research, analysis, leadership development and service improvement. We also offer a wide range of resources to help everyone working in health to share knowledge, learning and ideas.