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Firm axed from troubled GP surgery 'sorry' after safety concerns revealed

Giles Watling, MP for Clacton, has been campaigning for better services at four GP surgeries in Essex Pictures: GOOGLE MAPS/HOUSE OF COMMONS

Giles Watling, MP for Clacton, has been campaigning for better services at four GP surgeries in Essex Pictures: GOOGLE MAPS/HOUSE OF COMMONS

GOOGLE MAPS/HOUSE OF COMMONS

Health bosses have apologised to patients in Essex after inspectors published a scathing review of services at a troubled GP surgery in Frinton.

Up to 7,500 people are registered at Caradoc Surgery, which was taken over by a neighbouring practice in September after its previous provider, Anglian Community Enterprise (ACE), had its contract terminated over patient safety concerns.

Now health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published a damning review of Caradoc's services following an inspection in July 2019, a month before ACE had its contract terminated.

The report, which rates the surgery as 'inadequate', reveals a series of major concerns, including:

- Low patient satisfaction - particularly with the surgery's phone system and the experience of making an appointment

Dr Ed Garratt Picture: BEN CARMICHAEL/IPSWICH AND EAST SUFFOLK CCG/WEST SUFFOLK  CCGDr Ed Garratt Picture: BEN CARMICHAEL/IPSWICH AND EAST SUFFOLK CCG/WEST SUFFOLK CCG

- Failures to meet national child immunisation and cervical cancer screening targets

- Treatment for people with long-term conditions and suffering with poor mental health was not effective

- Failures to record frailty and fall risks and uncertainty over who the surgery's safeguarding lead was

'Very disappointing'

ACE's executive chairman, David Harrison, apologised to patients.

He said: "This report is very disappointing and we apologise for not offering the best level of service and care to our patients.

"Obviously we are no longer the provider of services for Caradoc Surgery, however, the lessons learnt from this experience have been at the heart of the improvement plan for our other three GP surgeries.

"Already, we are able to report a number of significant improvements including reduced telephone waiting times and the speedier processing of test results."

Frank Sims, ACE's new chief executive, said the firm will also be requesting an independent review of its services.

Surgery on an 'upward trajectory' since takeover

Giles Watling, Clacton MP, has been campaigning for better services at all four surgeries since concerns were first raised last year.

He said: "This of course is why I led the campaign to do something about the surgery. We now have it run by Ranworth, and things have improved dramatically there. It was appalling, and it did need improving, and I believe we are on an upward trajectory."

What is happening with ACE's three other surgeries?

ACE runs three more GP surgeries - Frinton Road Medical Practice in Holland-on-Sea, Epping Close Surgery in Clacton, and Green Elms Medical Centre in Jaywick.

At the end of last month, bosses at the North East Essex clinical commissioning group (CCG) said the future of these three practices, and whether they will still be run by ACE, will be decided by December 2019.

'We need to learn from this' - NHS chiefs

Dr Ed Garratt, chief executive of the North East Essex CCG, said the CQC's assessment of Caradoc was carried out before the change of management was put in place on September 1, 2019.

"We recognised the serious issues which are also referenced in the CQC's report and issued a termination notice to ACE in July 2019," he added.

"We want to learn from this report to help improve the other practices.

"From 1 September 2019, a 12-month caretaker contract with Dr Farrukh Shamshad at Ranworth Surgery in Clacton-on-Sea began.

"Feedback received from patients about practice staff and the care they have received has been very positive so far.

"We are pleased to see that the Ranworth Surgery team has had such an impact already."

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