The Care Quality Commission has recorded a surge in the number of whistleblowers complaining about standards in general practice, the regulator’s most senior inspector has said.

Professor Steve Field, chief inspector of general practice at the CQC said his team had been contacted by increasing numbers of nurses, practice managers and even GPs.

Calls from whistleblowers doubled from 12 in November last year to 24 in December, according to CQC figures.

Professor Field told the annual National Institute for Health and Care Excellence conference in Birmingham last week it was often “difficult” to protect the identities of these whistleblowers.

“You are likely to lose your job if you are a nurse in a single-handed practice and you speak out about your concerns,” he added.

“So when we contact surgeries we do try to retain that persons anonymity where we can but it is very difficult for us sometimes.”

A CQC spokesman said: ‘Since [we] began regulation of GP Practices in April 2013 there has been an increasing number of whistleblowing calls to the dedicated CQC helpline.

“One reason for this gradual rise in numbers could be due to the increased exposure of the CQC and its job as regulator of sector since April last year and the increased press interest since October.”