Concerns raised over care standards in some GP surgeries - CQC survey

Patients are now able to compare GP surgeries in their area for the first time after the health watchdog published data suggesting around one in six may be falling below care standards. Photo credi: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Patients are now able to compare GP surgeries in their area for the first time after the health watchdog published data suggesting around one in six may be falling below care standards. Photo credi: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Tuesday, 6.22pm: A total of seven medical practices in the Peterborough area have been flagged up as having an ‘elevated risk’ of falling below care standards - according to new figures released today (18 November) by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Patients can compare GP surgeries in their area for the first time after the health watchdog published data suggesting around one in six may be falling below care standards.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has launched its “intelligent monitoring” database, allowing patients to see which practices were highest on the list of priority for inspections under the watchdog’s new regime and why.

Exactly 1,200 nationally fell into the top two priority bands, labelled the “highest concern”, based on evidence of patient experience, care and treatment from sources including major surveys and official statistics.

Many were rated as either a “risk” or “elevated risk” on a checklist of 38 indicators including poor access to appointments, deficient planning for mental health patients and insufficient cancer screenings.

But the CQC said the reports released online were not a judgment on practices’ quality, which would be made only once they had been inspected, and around 3,800 were in band six, or of “lowest concern”.

Professor Steve Field, chief inspector of general practice, said: “There is a lot of good and outstanding care taking place across the country as our data and recent reports show. While it is positive that 78 per cent of general practices are currently a low concern based on the available data, there is no reason for complacency and standards must continue to improve.”

Of the 336 actual inspections the CQC has carried out so far nationally it found one in six surgeries had limited access to appointments and services, while there was “too much variation in the reporting and investigation of serious incidents”.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients’ Association, said: “We often hear about the difficulties people have trying to get an appointment with their GP. It is an area that general practice has to get right.

Our own reports have highlighted the access that people have that matches CQC’s analysis. We hope that CQC’s work in highlighting this major issue will act as a catalyst and there will be some positive changes.”

The CQC aims to inspect all GP surgeries by March 2016, with those rated in the top two bands, one and two, being inspected from next year.

CQC survey findings

To view the bandings, including a map of surgeries, visit www.cqc.org.uk.

Surgeries are banded in the survey as ranging from Band 1- Highest concern, and 2- Significant concern, through to 6 - lowest concern.

In the Peterborough, Stamford and Bourne area the CQC data listed the following surgery ‘inspection priority’ bandings:

Band 1:

Paston Health Centre, Dogsthorpe Medical Centre, Westwood Clinic, Millfield Medical Centre, Dr Robert Bailey at Thomas Walker Medical Centre, Orton Bushfield Medical Centre, Thorney Medical Practice.

Band 2:

Dr C Grant & Partners, Yaxley, Dr Ian Grindon Williams and Partners - Sawtry.

Band 3:

Bretton Medical Practice, Welland Medical Practice, Hampton Health, The Little Surgery - Stamford, The Surgery - Oundle.

Band 4:

Thistlemoor Road Surgery, 3Well Ltd - Botolph Bridge, Dr C R Burr & Partners - Bourne.

Band 5:

Drs Takhar, Nally & Hume - Wansford, 63 Lincoln Road Surgery, Westgate, Nene Valley Medical Practice, Jenner Health Centre - Whittlesey,

Band 6:

Park Medical Centre - Peterborough, North Street Medical Practice - Peterborough, Old Fletton Surgery, Thorpe Road Surgery, The Grange Medical Centre - Peterborough, Ailsworth Medical Centre, Abbeyview Surgery - Crowland, Dr Vijay Iyer, Hodgson Centre - Peterborough, The New Queen Street Surgery - Whittlesey, St Mary’s Medical Centre - Stamford, The Sheepmarket Surgery- Stamford, The Deepings Practice, Hereward Group Practice - Bourne.