Two GP surgeries have been placed into special measures by healthcare watchdogs.
The Old Forge Surgery in Pallion Park and Hylton Medical Group in Hylton Road, both Sunderland, have been labelled as “inadequate” by inspectors from the Care Quality Commission.
The reports released by the healthcare watchdog followed a visit by officials to the surgeries in April.
At Hylton Medical Group, inspectors found there was a lack of effective systems in place to monitor the safe running of the practice.
There were positive comments from patients and GPs were said to work hard to meet people’s needs but the CQC has highlighted a number of areas for improvement including ensuring adequate GP cover is maintained, staff being appropriately supported to carry out their roles and responsibilities and all clinical staff receiving training in the use of the Mental Capacity Act (2005).
At The Old Forge Surgery, inspectors received positive feedback from patients but found systems in place were ineffective. It also did not have an up-to-date infection control policy.
We would like to reassure patients that the surgery remains open and very much committed to providing a quality service to our community.Partners and doctors of The Old Forge Surgery
Areas for improvement, include ensuring appropriate policies and guidance for staff is in place to enable to carry out their roles in a safe and effective manner; effective infection control systems are in place; relevant checks are carried out on staff in relation to recruitment and professional registrations of existing staff.
Both surgeries are being given a package of support by NHS England and the Royal College of GPs to ensure there are no immediate risks to patient safety whilst improvements are being made.
Sue McMillan, deputy chief inspector of general practice, said: “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.”
Partners and doctors of The Old Forge Surgery said: “Our aim is to always offer excellent quality healthcare and a caring service to our patients. We are disappointed with this rating, but we take it very seriously and have already started putting measures in place to meet the CQC’s requirements.
“The concerns are focused on policies and procedures during a period when we have had difficulty in recruiting clinical staff and then followed by long-term staff absences through illness. We have now recruited additional clinical staff and brought in extra support to improve our systems. The inspectors recognised that we are good at providing caring services to patients, and we would like to thank patients for their overwhelmingly positive feedback.
“We would like to reassure patients that the surgery remains open and very much committed to providing a quality service to our community.”
Dr Basim Khalidi, senior partner at Hylton Medical Group, said: “Our priority is to provide high quality medical care for our community, and we are working with our NHS partners to ensure our systems meet the CQC’s requirements.
“We were pleased that the inspectors highlighted a number of positives, as well as many positive comments from patients, and we have already started to address their concerns around internal systems and checks.
“The report rightly recognises the difficulties we have had in recruiting a new GP partner, but we have now appointed a new partner and we are taking other steps to reduce our reliance on locum staff. We are confident that we will meet the CQC’s criteria over the coming months. If any patient is concerned about this report, I would encourage them to call the practice and we will be happy to help.”