Sollershott Surgery in Letchworth placed into special measures following Care Quality Commission report

A Letchworth GP surgery has been placed in special measures after a Care Quality Commission report i

A Letchworth GP surgery has been placed in special measures after a Care Quality Commission report in which the overall quality of care was called inadequate. - Credit: Archant

A Letchworth GP surgery has been placed in special measures after a Care Quality Commission report in which the overall quality of care was called ‘inadequate’.

Inspectors found that safety and leadership at the Sollershott Surgery were inadequate and had ‘major flaws’, with effectiveness and responsiveness also requiring improvement – but did find that services were caring and compassionate and gave a ‘good’ rating in that field.

The CQC’s chief inspector of general practice Professor Steve Field noted in the report published yesterday that some essential staff training had not been completed, and that incidents and near-misses were not properly investigated.

Blank prescription forms were found to stored in an unlocked cupboard, with no system in place to monitor their use.

Prof Field wrote in his summary: “I am placing this service in special measures. Services placed in special measures will be inspected again within six months.

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“The service will be kept under review and if needed could be escalated to urgent enforcement action.

“Where necessary, another inspection will be conducted within a further six months, and if there is not enough improvement, we will move to close the service by adopting our proposal to remove this location or cancel the provider’s registration.

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“Special measures will give people who use the service the reassurance that the care they get should improve.”

The CQC inspection, carried out on May 12, found that processes to address risks to patients were not implemented well enough, with staff training lacking in imporant areas such as safeguarding.

Staff at the surgery in Sollershott East lacked essential training in some areas and received no appraisals – and a 12-member virtual patient participation group had not been engaged with for more than a year.

On a positive note, patients told the inspectors they were treated with dignity, compassion and respect, and involved in decisions about their care. Inspectors also found that confidentiality was well maintained by staff.

Doctors Richard Nevard and Nes Irvine, the partners who run the practice, issued a statement in response reassuring patients that an action plan was in place to address the problems raised.

“We would like to reassure patients that as a practice our resources have been primarily focused on patients and providing caring services and this area has been rated as good by CQC,” they said.

“As a result of this patient focus we have not adequately addressed other areas which are more concerned with internal procedures and governance which has resulted in the rating of inadequate.

“We are working with the local Clinical Commissioning Group and Local Medical Committee to address the main concerns, and we have put in place an action plan to address short term and longer term issues to ensure we meet the required regulatory standards going forward.

“As many of our patients are aware the practice has been under significant pressure in the past two years with the loss of a partner.

“Despite ongoing recruitment attempts since March 2015 we have been unable to recruit any permanent doctors and the practice is heavily reliant on locum doctors.

“In addition we have had a reduced number of nurses and administrative staff affecting all areas of the practice, although we have recently appointed a new administrator and nurse.

“As a practice we remain committed to providing excellent patient care and would again reiterate that we strive to meet the standards required in today’s NHS.”

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