Strelley Health Centre in Nottingham has been closed down by the Care Quality Commission after an inspection in June 2019 concluded that the service was “Inadequate”, the lowest rating possible under the CQC’s rating system.
The practice had previously been in special measures but had received a rating of “Requires Improvement” at its previous inspection in March 2018. The practice was run by Beechdale Medical Group and catered to more than 4,000 patients.
The practice was among 7.7% of healthcare services in the UK to be rated as “Inadequate” by the CQC in the past month’s ratings, compared to 25% which were rated as “Requires Improvement”.
What did CQC inspectors find?
The inspection report, published on 17 July 2019 assessed the safety, effectiveness, caring, responsiveness and leadership of the service. It concluded that the service was inadequate in four of those five areas. The report highlighted issues with the triage system, commenting that there was “not always evidence to show that staff completing the triage were trained and competent”, and that there was a “lack of documentation” as a result of which “inappropriate decisions had been made which could have put patients at serious risk of harm”.
The report also highlighted failures by receptionists to identify deteriorating or acutely unwell patients and found that receptionists “were not aware of action to take in respect of such patients”. Evidence also indicated that patients were not informed of abnormal blood test results.
Ultimately, the report found that the practice managers had failed to address criticisms and areas for improvement highlighted in previous inspection reports. This, combined with the fact that the practice had not reviewed or acted upon patient feedback showed that management would “not learn and make improvements when things went wrong”.
What has the reaction been?
Despite the above conclusions, Dr Marcus Bicknell, Senior Partner at the Beechdale Medical Group, issued a statement in June saying that he was “shocked and surprised” by the CQC’s decision to close the practice. He asserted that “the CQC has created more risk in immediately closing Strelley Surgery down than working with us to improve services and potentially organise a planned closure or change of service provider”.
Our expert said
Amrit Dhaliwal, solicitor with Medical Accident Group, said: “It is deeply concerning that more than 30% of healthcare services in the UK have failed to meet the standard required by the CQC. In this instance, a lack of appropriate expertise, management and communication put patients who were already unwell at serious risk. However, it is equally concerning that all of these patients must now be reallocated, which will no doubt put further strain on other practices in the area.”
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