Washington GP surgery put into special measures after concern over failure to improve

The GP surgery in Victoria Road, Concord. Copyright Google Images.
The GP surgery in Victoria Road, Concord. Copyright Google Images.
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A Washington medical surgery has been put into special measures by inspectors after it was graded as inadequate.

England’s Chief Inspector of General Practice has given the rating to Victoria Medical Practice in Victoria Road, Concord, and placed the practice into special measures following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

A specialist team of inspectors rated the service provided by the GP surgery, which us run by Dr Nina Ray and Dr Achutha Madathil, as inadequate for providing services that were safe and well-led, required improvement for effectiveness and responsiveness and good for caring.

CQC had previously inspected the practice in September 2014 when it was found to be in breach of regulations.

After that inspection the practice wrote to CQC saying what they would do to meet their legal requirements.

Under CQC’s new programme of inspections, all of England’s GP practices are being inspected and given a rating

The practice was inspected in September 2015 by a CQC lead inspector and included a GP specialist advisor and a specialist advisor with experience of GP practice management.

Patients who described their overall experience as good was at 98%, which was above the local CCG average of 88% and the national average of 85%.

All of the patients CQC spoke with were satisfied with the care they received from the practice.

They told its team staff were friendly and helpful and they received a good service.

However, The Care Quality Commission has identified a number of areas where the provider must make improvements, including:

• Ensure privacy of patient information.

• Ensure patients are not at risk - patients were at risk of harm because effective systems and processes were not in place to keep them safe. Areas of concern included; the processes for recording and learning from significant events and patient safety alerts.

• Ensure appropriate checks are made - disclosure and barring checks (DBS) had not been carried out on staff and the systems in place for the management of medicines were not safe.

• Ensure that staff receive appropriate appraisal to enable them to carry out their duties.

CQC is working closely with Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS England to support the practice while it addresses the issues identified by the inspection.

Dr Achutha Madathil, of Victoria Medical Practice, said: “The practice is committed to providing the best possible health care for our patients, and we are already working with our NHS partners to bring our systems into line with the inspectors’ requirements.

“While we are disappointed with this rating, the inspectors highlighted a number of strengths and received a lot of positive feedback from patients about the care they receive here.

“We are confident that we will meet the CQC’s requirements over the coming months. In the meantime, I would like to reassure patients that the surgery remains open and very much committed to providing a quality service to the community.

“If any of our patients have concerns, I would encourage them to speak to one of our team and we will be happy to answer any questions.”

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

“It was disappointing that this service had made little or no progress since its last inspection in September 2014.

“I am concerned that the confidentiality of patients was compromised at the reception desk. Personal information discussed by receptionists could be overheard.

"Another aspect of patient handling was the lack of a complaints policy.

"The patient information leaflet on complaints did not contain information regarding taking a complaint further than the practice, for example, to NHS England or the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

“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.

“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.”

The CQC has said patients registered with the practices being placed into special measures should be aware that the package of support being offered by NHS England and the Royal College of GPs will ensure that there are no immediate risks to patient safety at these GP practices whilst improvements are being made.

The building also houses Dr G Stephenosn and Partners, Concord Medical Practice, run by Dr Sen and partners, Dr A Thomas and Dr Bhatt and Dr Benn, but the CQC has only looked at the work of Victoria Medical Practice.