Stevenage and Arlesey GP surgeries rated inadequate by healthcare watchdog

Stevenage's Kingsway Health Centre and Arlesey's Sunnyhill Healthcare have both been rated inadequat

Stevenage's Kingsway Health Centre and Arlesey's Sunnyhill Healthcare have both been rated inadequate by the Care Quality Commission. Picture: Pixabay. - Credit: Archant

Two GP surgeries have been rated inadequate by healthcare inspectors and could be shut down if they do not improve.

Kingsway Health Centre on Stevenage Leisure Park and Arlesey High Street's Sunnyhill Healthcare - also known as Arlesey Medical Centre - have received damning reports from the Care Quality Commission.

Kingsway Health Centre provides an evening and weekend GP service to patients registered with one of eight practices in Stevenage.

Inspectors found basic recruitment checks had not been carried out - including DBS checks - and there was no evidence of references for some staff.

Not all equipment was tested to ensure it was safe to use, there were gaps in systems to assess and manage risks to patient safety, and the service could not demonstrate how all staff had appropriate training.

Four 'significant events' have happened since April, including a locum GP setting up an urgent two week wait cancer referral task but failing to send it to the patient's GP practice for action.

Inspectors did commend the service for being caring and responsive, saying: "Staff treated people with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect."

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Sunnyhill Healthcare has also been rated inadequate. The practice has failed to provide safe services for a raft of reasons, including poor infection prevention and control systems. Areas of the building needed deep cleaning or showed disrepair, and there was no cleaning schedule.

Cervical screening targets had not been met and basic risk assessments not completed.

Patients did say staff were caring and compassionate and worked hard to meet their needs.

Both services have been placed in special measures and will be inspected again within six months. If insufficent improvements have been made, the providers will be forced to step aside and may have their registration cancelled. Urgent enforcement action could result in the services being shut down.

Janet Williamson, for the CQC, said: "Inspectors found these services were failing to provide the level of care people should be able to expect and we found a number of concerns.

"I am hopeful the practices will do what is required for the sake of their patients but, if we find services remain inadequate, we will consider taking further action."

A spokesman for Kingsway Health Centre said: "We are pleased the inspectors found our service is caring and responsive to patients' needs.

"We have acknowledged the inspectors' findings, many of which are related to technical issues related to practice staff using a building which is not their main base.

"A detailed action plan is already in place and many of the issues raised have already been addressed.

"We are due to have a follow-up meeting with the CQC shortly and, with the support of our commissioners, we feel confident we will be able to give the inspectors the reassurance they are looking for."

A spokesman for Sunnyhill Healthcare said: "We are working with Central Bedfordshire Council to make significant changes to the practice. We have had a new roof and ongoing work is continuing with new ceilings. We have had a full refurbishment internally, with new flooring and the practice painted. As a team we are all working very hard to improve the practice."