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Three GP surgeries in "special measures".

Three GP practices – two in the North West and one in Berkshire - have been placed in "special measures" as part of a new inspection regime.

The Care Quality Commission said "significant areas of concern" had been uncovered at the three surgeries in Liverpool, Reading and Greater Manchester.

All three surgeries could be forced to close in six months if their services do not improve.

The special measures instigation is the result of a series of inspections which rated five GP surgeries as inadequate, ten as needing improvement while three gained an outstanding rating and 57 were classed as good.

The GP practices placed in special measures were Dr Srinivas Dharmana, Queens Drive, Liverpool, which was rated inadequate for being safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led; Dr Michael Florin, Norris Road, Sale, Greater Manchester which was rated inadequate for being safe and well-led, and requiring improvement to be responsive and effective.

The third practice was Priory Avenue Surgery, Caversham, Reading which was rated inadequate for being safe, effective and well-led, and requiring improvement to be caring and responsive.

Following the inspections, NHS England is working with the practices to help them to improve.

NHS England chief inspector of general practice, Prof Steve Field, said: "It is disappointing that we have found any to be inadequate but it is important that those practices are offered help to improve.

"In each case, we have found significant areas of concern. Patients should be able to expect high-quality and consistent care from their GP, which is why I have put the three practices into special measures."

A further two inadequate practices - Richmond Medical Centre, Leeds and Widdrington Medical Practitioners, Northumberland - have been told they will be put into special measures if they do not improve.

The CQC said the priority was to help practices improve and that surgeries would be closed only if it was "absolutely necessary."