‘Inadequate’ Sunderland GP surgeries improve to get ‘good’ ratings

Southwick Health Centre
Southwick Health Centre

Two GP surgeries on Wearside which were both rated “inadequate” by inspectors have improved according to new reports.

The service provided by Dr Rex Obonna, whose practice is based at Southwick Health Centre, in The Green, and Victoria Medical Practice, in Concord, Washington, were given the rating by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following visits last September.

Victoria Road Health Centre, Concord, Washington.

Victoria Road Health Centre, Concord, Washington.

Breaches of legal requirements were found to have taken place at both sites, placing them in special measures.

When CQC re-inspected Dr Obonna’s Practice in July and Victoria Road in June, inspectors found the practices had improved in the areas they asked them to, leaving them both with a good rating.

As is standard with all practices placed into special measures, after a period of at least six months, the CQC returns to inspect again to check whether sufficient improvements have been made.

Alison Holbourn, CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector of General Practice said: “We did not believe that either of these practices were likely to resolve their challenges without external support, and this is why they were placed into special measures.

“This is good news for patients across Sunderland.”

Debbie Burnicle

“When we inspected again we were pleased to see a number of significant improvements made by both surgeries to raise the standard of care they provide to their local community.

Although both practices had made significant improvements, we encourage them to keep working with partners to look at ways of improving the practice further and more importantly how they can sustain those changes until the next time we inspect and beyond.”

Dr Obonna said: “The previous inspection came at a time when we had experienced higher than normal sickness levels, and the concerns mainly centred on systems and processes.

“The team has worked very hard to resolve these concerns, and our patients have rallied round to help us make improvements, so it’s good to see this recognised with a ‘good’ rating in every category.

“We are committed to providing high quality healthcare, and we are keen for more of our patients to get involved as we continue to improve our service.”

Dr Achutha Madathil of Victoria Medical Practice said: “We are delighted to see a lot of hard work recognised in this new rating from the inspectors.

“Our focus has always been on offering a caring and quality service for our patients and community, and we have taken a whole series of steps to address the concerns that were raised – changing the waiting room and moving our telephones for better confidentiality, as well as writing new policies and involving patients more in our work.

“We will continue to improve services into the future and we are keen for patients to play a big part in that.”

Debbie Burnicle, deputy chief officer at NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This is good news for patients across Sunderland, with the vast majority of practices in the city now classed as ‘good’, and some with ‘outstanding’ features.”