Patients put at risk of harm at Portsmouth GP surgery say inspectors

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A doctors’ surgery in Southsea has been put into special measures by inspectors who said it was so inadequate that patients were put in risk of harm.

The move by England’s Chief Inspector of General Practice follows an inspection by the Care Quality Commission at Waverley Road Surgery.

Inspectors rated the service as ‘Inadequate’ for being safe and well-led, ‘Requires Improvement’ for being effective and Good for being caring and responsive to people’s needs.

The practice was given an overall rating of ‘Inadequate’.

Dr Nick Moore, on behalf of the surgery, said today that they have already taken positive action which they believe will address the concerns raised by the CQC.

Ruth Rankine, Deputy Chief Inspector of General Practice CQC’s South region said: ‘Waverley Road Surgery merged with Salisbury Road Surgery in April 2015, with the intention of operating as a single organisation, however we were not assured that the leadership was able to deliver high quality care which everyone is entitled to receive from their GP practice.

‘Patients were at risk of harm because systems were not embedded well enough to keep them safe. For example, staff employment checks, infection control, the premises, equipment and unforeseen events were not well managed to ensure appropriate mitigating action was taken.

‘Despite some areas of good practice we have found significant areas of concern, which is why we are placing the practice into special measures - so opening the way for the practice to receive support from NHS England among others.

‘We will continue to monitor this practice and we will inspect again in six months to check whether improvements have been made. I am hopeful that the practice will do what is required for the sake of its patients, but if we find that the service remains inadequate, we will consider taking further action.’

Key findings from inspectors included:

1. Policies and procedures were in place but following the merger of practices, some were related to one site only and had not been integrated across the two sites.

2. Risks to patients and staff were assessed but not always implemented to deliver safe care. This included fire action plans, legionella and infection control and emergency equipment.

3. Safeguards were not in place to ensure that patients received the correct vaccines and processes for handling medicines were not followed.

4. Governance systems did not ensure training was monitored, up to date or records kept consistently. The practice could not demonstrate if staff had completed adult safeguarding training.

5. Adequate systems were not in place to ensure that staff had completed the relevant training, recruitment checks, knowledge and skills to enable them to carry out chaperone duties.

Dr Moore said: ‘We were pleased that the CQC considers that our services are not only caring but also responsive to people’s needs - the wellbeing of our patients is and always will be our top priority.

‘We have already taken positive action which we believe will address the concerns in the CQC report.

‘We have just recruited a highly experienced new practice nurse to our team who will be overseeing our infection control and emergency medicines protocols, we are also recruiting a new operations manager to work alongside our experienced practice manager.

‘We accept that there is always room for improvement and we know further work is needed to integrate our two practices since the merger between Waverley Road and Salisbury Road surgeries into the Craneswater Group Practice in April last year.

‘We will learn the lessons from this report and we are taking steps to further improve our services. That said, we are disappointed to receive this overall rating from the CQC and we are also extremely disappointed about some aspects of the report, which will be raising with the CQC.’

He added: ‘All staff at our practice remain highly committed to providing excellent holistic care to all our patients, and we have been further gratified by results from the independent patients’ survey into GP services, which was published last month.

‘This survey, based on patient feedback for the 23 practices in Portsmouth, found that Craneswater Group Practice had the second highest score for people’s experience of their surgery and the third best score for patients having confidence and trust in the GP they saw or spoke to.’

A full report of the inspection, which was carried out in April 2016, has been published on the CQC website.

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