'Serious concerns about patient safety' at GP surgery in South Normanton
A GP surgery in South Normanton with more than 9,500 people on its books has been slammed by watchdog inspectors, who found ‘serious concerns about patient safety’.
The Village Surgery, based at The Hub on Shiners Way, has been given a rating of ‘Inadequate’ and placed in Special Measures after an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Special Measures means the surgery will be kept under review and inspected again within the next months.
If there are insufficient improvements, the review “could be escalated to urgent enforcement action”, says the CQC, and the surgery could be forced to close.
The Village, which also has a branch practice at Pinxton, is part of the South Hardwick Primary Care Network that runs eight surgeries across Derbyshire.
It employs a team of six GPs, five practice nurses, two advanced clinical practitioners, a healthcare assistant and care-co-ordinator, plus a practice manager and a squad of reception and administrative staff.
After its previous inspection in August, 2016, the surgery was rated ‘Good’. But the CQC was alerted to concerns raised and returned for an announced inspection in December.
In only one category was it rated ‘Good’ as inspectors accepted the service was caring, and staff ‘treated patients with kindness, respect and compassion’.
But in two categories, it was labelled ‘Requires Improvement’ and in two others ‘Inadequate’, which was also the overall rating given.
Alarmingly, the CQC found that The Village was in breach of two legal regulations, including ‘ensuring care and treatment is provided in a safe way to patients’.
It was found that there were ‘not enough staff to provide appointments, and clinical staff were working excessive hours’.
The practice ‘did not maintain a register of vulnerable adults’ and there was no system in place to monitor the Covid vaccination of staff.
Diagnoses could have been missed, reviews were not always completed and patients with diabetes ‘had not always received the required monitoring’.
There were delays in patient referrals, including those who potentially had cancer, while test results were ‘not always reviewed in a timely manner’ and ‘processes for the safe handling of requests for repeat medicines’, including high-risk medicines, were ‘not effective’.
The CQC report did note that ‘appropriate standards of cleanliness and hygiene’ were met at the surgery. And that staff ‘were proactive in helping patients to live healthier lives’.
However, the surgery was not well-led, with ‘policies and procedures not always followed’ and the wellbeing of staff not supported.
"Staff we spoke with told us the provider was not visible and they did not listen or act on staff concerns,” the report said.
Inspectors also urged the practice to update its measures regarding the prevention of infection.
In response to the CQC report, Helen Marriott, the surgery’s practice manager, issued this statement: “The Village Surgery team welcomes the findings, which have provided a clear framework for how to improve the quality of care provided to our patients.
“The team has been working incredibly hard and has made significant progress. All outstanding blood tests have been reported on and booked in, while the completion of staff DBS checks and updated records has been made.
"A new system for discussing alerts and significant events has been set up, and a new system to track urgent cancer referrals has been created.
“We are also proud to have employed a new human resources manager to help resolve some issues with staffing.
“While we recognise that some parts of the practice’s operations needed improving, the report also acknowledged that staff treated patients with kindness, respect and compassion. Feedback from patients was positive about the way staff treated people.
"The report also noted that the practice has a comprehensive programme of quality improvement activity, and routinely reviews the effectiveness and appropriateness of the care provided.
“CQC inspections are a valuable part of keeping our health service safe and maintaining public trust, and we have responded quickly and effectively to improve the experience and safety of our patients.”