Village Medical Centre Littleborough placed in 'special measures' following CQC 'Inadequate' rating

Date published: 24 January 2017

The Village Medical Centre in Littleborough has been placed in 'special measures' after The Care Quality Commision (CQC) rated it as 'Inadequate' following an inspection.

The key findings across all the areas inspected were: 

  • Patients were at potential risk of harm because systems and processes were not in place to keep them safe. For example, not all appropriate recruitment checks on staff had been undertaken prior to their employment, there had been no risk assessments carried out in relation to health and safety, fire safety, infection control or legionella since 2012, there were no records to show whether staff were immunised against infectious diseases such as Hepatitis B.
  • The practice was mostly carpeted, including the treatment room used by the practice nurse and no spill kits are available.
  • There were no clear records to show that staff had received mandatory training such as safeguarding, infection control, information governance or fire safety.
  • All reception staff acted as chaperones but had received no formal training and were not DBS checked.
  • Staff were not clear about reporting incidents, near misses and concerns and there was no evidence of learning and communication with staff.
  • Patient outcomes were hard to identify as no reference had been made to audits or quality improvement for three years and there was no evidence that the practice was comparing its performance to others either locally or nationally.
  • The practice had no clear leadership structure, insufficient leadership capacity, no day to day supervision and support of staff and no formal governance arrangements.
  • There were no policies and procedures which had been personalised to the practice. There was no repeat prescribing policy available and no policy or process for dealing with safety alerts.
  • Patients were positive about their interactions with staff and said they were treated with compassion and dignity.
  • The lead GP was working with GP locums due to a difficulty in the recruitment of new partners.

The CQC identified regulatory breaches within the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014.

The service has been placed in special measures - services placed in special measures will be inspected again within six months. If insufficient improvements have been made such that there remains a rating of inadequate for any population group, key question or overall, action will be taken in line with the CQC's enforcement procedures to begin the process of preventing the service from operating.

Special measures are intended to give people who use the service the reassurance that the care they get should improve. The provider must take urgent action.

GP Care Services Ltd took control of the management and partnership arrangements for The Village Medical Centre in January 2017. They are based in Rochdale and part of the community NHS.

GP Care Services said it accepts the findings and has started to focus on "the development of a thorough action plan, to promptly address all areas where the CQC outlined that improvements could be made".

Gail Whitehead, Chief Officer of GP Care Services, said: "We acknowledge the rating of inadequate for the CQC’s report and welcome its focus on improving systems and processes for patient safety.”

“We are committed to learning from this report and to improving the processes and services in order to provide the very best care we can for all our patients and have been working together with Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group, the Care Quality Commission and NHS England to correct all inadequacies.

"We are pleased to be taking over the management of the Village Medical Centre from Dr Datta who retired from the practice last week. We commend the team there, on the areas of good practice highlighted by this report, notably the CQC’s reflections that the staff are very caring and that they consistently treat people with kindness, dignity and respect and maintain patient and information confidentiality.”

A spokesperson for the Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group said: “A recent change in the partnership arrangements and management of the Village Medical Centre in Littleborough has set in motion a series of improvements, as the practice works together with the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and NHS England.”

Dr Chris Duffy, Chairman of Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group said: “The CQC rating for the Village Medical Centre in Littleborough is the assessment of the practice some months ago, I am delighted to be able to assure patients that there are new GP partners and management arrangements in place that has already realised a series of improvements. We are working together towards making more positive changes and I am confident that the next time the practice is rated, it will be significantly better.”

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