CQC has put three GP practices into special measures for the first time after uncovering ‘significant areas of concern’ regarding patient safety at practices in Reading, Liverpool and Sale, Cheshire.
They are the first surgeries to be told to make major improvements urgently or risk being shut altogether by the NHS care watchdog taking away their licence to operate. During inspections inspectors found that there were problems including too few staff, patients waiting up to four weeks to get an appointment, medical records not being kept up to date and medicines not being looked after properly at the practices.
CQC will inspect each practice at the end of the special measures period. If the practice has not improved, and continues to provide inadequate care, CQC will move to cancel the provider’s registration and issue a Notice of Proposal to cancel registration. There will usually be a further inspection within six months to consider whether to cancel the provider’s registration. This will be subject to the usual representations process.
The British Medical Association has condemned CQC for singling out the three surgeries. Dr Richard Vautrey, a family doctor in Leeds who is deputy chair of the BMA’s GPs committee said: ‘When in rare occasions a practice is not performing as well as it would want to there are often complex reasons which need to be fully understood. Such practices often work in very challenging situations and usually need help and support not condemnation or naming and shaming, which only makes matters worse. It also makes it doubly difficult to recruit new GPs to help resolve the problem.’
Of the 143 GP practices CQC has rated since October 2014, six have been outstanding, 112 have been good, 20 have been judged to require improvement and five, including the trio now in special measures, have been ruled ‘inadequate’.
The other two in that category were not put into special measures because they have made progress since they were inspected.