Inspectors slam GP surgery in damning report

Harraton Surgery, Washington.
Harraton Surgery, Washington.
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A GP practice in Washington has been rated ‘inadequate’ and placed in special measures after an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) unveiled “serious concerns”.

The damning report, which slammed Harraton Surgery for not being ‘safe’ or ‘well-led’ was published after a visit in September.

After a period of six months we will inspect again to check whether sufficient improvements have been made. If we find that the service provided by this practice remains inadequate, we will consider taking steps to cancel its registration with CQC

Sue McMillan, Deputy Chief Inspector of General Practice

The practice also requires improvement in the areas and effectiveness and responsiveness, although it was rated ‘good’ for being caring after positive feedback from patients.

However, inspectors found that mistakes were not adequately investigated, that appropriate background checks on staff had not been undertaken prior to their employment, and not all staff who acted as chaperones had been subject to Disclosure and Baring Service (DBS) checks.

Staffing levels within the administrative and cleaning staff teams were found to be low, and there were significant gaps in mandatory staff training, including fire safety, information governance and safeguarding training.

Surgery bosses say they are now working hard to meet the inspectors’ requirements.

Sue McMillan, deputy chief inspector of general practice, said: “It is important that the people who are registered with Harraton Surgery can rely on getting the high quality care which everyone is entitled to receive from their GP.

“While we received some positive feedback from patients about their care and treatment, we also found some significant areas of concern. I do not believe that the practice is likely to resolve its challenges without external support. This is why we are placing the practice into special measures.

“With the right support, I expect this practice to be transformed. After a period of six months we will inspect again to check whether sufficient improvements have been made. If we find that the service provided by this practice remains inadequate, we will consider taking steps to cancel its registration.”

Dr Inder Singh, of Harraton Surgery, said: “Our focus has always been on providing high quality medical care for our patients, and we are working with our NHS partners to ensure our systems meet the inspectors’ requirements.

“The findings relate to a period when the practice was experiencing high levels of staff turnover, and we have already started putting steps in place to strengthen the team and improve our systems.

“We were pleased to see that the inspectors highlighted some very positive comments from patients about the support and care they receive.

“We are confident that we will meet the CQC’s requirements over the coming months. If any of our patients are worried by this report, we would encourage them to contact us and we will be happy to answer any questions.”

David Gallagher, chief officer at NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “The CQC has issued its findings in relation to Harraton Surgery, and identified a number of issues. We are working with the practice, NHS England and other partners to help make the necessary improvements.

“The inspectors raised significant concerns around systems, training and staffing levels, as well as positive feedback from patients about access to appointments, caring staff and feeling involved in decisions about treatment.”