Three GP surgeries in special measures after out of date medicine found

The Clements Surgery in Haverhill has been ranked 'inadequate', alongside fellow branches Christmas

The Clements Surgery in Haverhill has been ranked 'inadequate', alongside fellow branches Christmas Maltings and Kedington Picture: GOOGLE MAPS - Credit: GOOGLE MAPS

A health watchdog has placed three doctors’ surgeries – Christmas Maltings and Clements in Haverhill and a third site in Kedington – in special measures.

Out of date medicines and poor feedback from patients about booking appointments are among concerns listed by Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors who visited in January.

This week the overall service – which operates across three sites at Clements Surgery in Greenfields Way, Haverhill, Christmas Maltings Surgery in Camps Road, Haverhill and Kedington Surgery in School Road, Kedington – was rated ‘inadequate’.

Staff working across the three sites – caring for a combined 17,350 patients – have been given six months to improve.

It is the second service run by Suffolk GP Federation to be ranked inadequate in a matter of weeks.

In a recent report, experts noted improvements had been made from a previous inspection in August 2018.

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Yet they found a number of new concerns, which included:

• Poor feedback from patients about accessing the practice

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• Patients were not always able to access care and treatment in a timely way

• Out of date medicines were found in a refrigerator – insulin had expiry dates of September 2018 and December 2018

• The practice’s systems and processes didn’t make sure people were adequately protected from avoidable harm

• There was no record of up-to-date and accurate safeguarding registers for adults and children

• Thousands of medicine reviews were still outstanding, and of those that were completed, not all were up to scratch

However, feedback from patients on the day of the inspection showed people were positive about the caring nature of staff.

Inspectors also found complaints were handled appropriately and quickly.

In their report, they ranked the three practices as ‘inadequate’ overall – with subsequent ‘inadequate’ ratings for effectiveness and leadership.

But they were rated ‘good’ for care, and ‘requires improvement’ for safety and responsiveness.

Those in charge of the service will now have six months to make improvements.

If action is not taken in time, the CQC can cancel the practice’s registration and suspend services.

What does the GP Federation have to say?

Commenting on the inspection of the surgeries in question, the Suffolk GP Federation said: “We are very disappointed that Christmas Maltings and Clements has been found to be inadequate, although we are pleased it is rated as caring.

“We were aware of most of the issues highlighted in the CQC report. Our staff have been working hard for many months to address them. Many have been rectified post the inspection but others will take time to resolve.

“We are improving the service as fast as we can and implementing every initiative recommended by NHS England.”

Dr Paul Driscoll, medical director, added: “When we took on the practice in July 2017 it had many long running and significant challenges. The team’s hard work has already led to improvements in managing long term conditions and medication reviews.

“Moving the dispensary to the Clements site will assist with this and enhance clinical supervision. Most importantly, we have been able to recruit permanent doctors for the first time in several years.”

Commenting further on the inspection of the GP Federation as a whole, the spokeswoman said: “This is the first time the federation has been inspected by the Care Quality Commission.

“We are really pleased the inspection highlighted our north east Essex diabetes service and the falls & fragility service as outstanding. All of our services are caring and responsive.

“The inspection has highlighted areas which we need to improve, including a number in the Felixstowe Minor Injuries Unit.

“We have begun implementing an immediate action plan and have already addressed most of the issues raised.”

Dr Driscoll added: “This has been a really useful inspection by the CQC. As an organisation we are always eager to learn and have incorporated the findings into our future development plan.”

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