Lakeside Healthcare Stamford responds to Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection findings
Lakeside Healthcare, which today received a highly critical inspection report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), has admitted failings but not apologised for them.
The Corby-based provider of GP services, which is headed by Robert Harris, has released a statement saying swift action is being taken in Stamford.
Without apologising to patients, the Lakeside statement 'acknowledges' there are issues around patient care, access to appointments and practice management, and says these were being addressed before the inspection.
The statement, which has not been attributed to any named person from Lakeside, adds: "The Stamford team, with considerable input and support from Lakeside central team, is focusing its efforts on addressing the CQC’s concerns and listening to patient feedback while continuing to provide day-to-day services for the community."
Access to care
When they visited Lakeside Stamford this summer, inspectors found that patients were unable to access care and treatment in a timely way.
In response, the Lakeside statement says they were "aware that patients have struggled to access appointments". There has been no apology offered for this.
But the GP provider insists its "doors are now open" and patients can make face-to-face appointments at Sheepmarket and St Mary’s practices "if clinically appropriate".
The statement continues: "Issues have not been helped by a pent up demand for GP services which has been the picture nationally and resulted in our phone lines being overloaded and appointments being booked up at a faster than ever rate.
“Resolving access issues for patients is a massive priority for us for the coming months and we have already taken action in this area.
"In response to patient feedback we have reintroduced pre-bookable telephone slots in addition to our same-day triage appointments.
"Our upgraded telephone system was installed at the time of the inspection and recent average call waiting times were 4 minutes and 20 seconds on Mondays, which are always a time of peak demand, to 2 minutes and 13 seconds on Wednesdays.
"Waiting times on all days are an improvement to those experienced by patients using the previous system."
Care and treatment
The CQC inspector found Lakeside Stamford in breach of three regulations governing GP providers.
One of these was its duty to ensure care and treatment is provided to patients in a safe way.
Lakeside admitted many routine activities, such as medication reviews and annual reviews of long-term conditions, were not carried out - which it put down to Covid restrictions.
"Guidance advised that the focus should be on managing the impact of the pandemic and ensuring rapid roll out of vaccinations, so inevitably some of these routine activities were deferred," its statement said.
According to Lakeside, by working overtime GPs and pharmacists are due clear the backlog of medication reviews this month (August).
It has also brought in more specialist nurses to review patients with long-term conditions such as diabetes and asthma.
In order to promote 'person-centred care', which the inspector found lacking, Lakeside says it is creating a new senior management team. It has appointed a practice manager and is recruiting an operations and compliance manager to work with its new patient services manager.
Four new GPs are due to start work within a few weeks and more are being recruited.
More staff are also being recruited into the nursing, dispensary and administrative teams.
“The new management team will ensure staff are supported, have the opportunity to develop and have appropriate training for their roles," the statement explains.
One of findings by the CQC was that Lakeside had failed to ensure staff had undergone appropriate training and support before working at its practice, one of its three breaches of the regulations governing GP providers.
The statement issued by Lakeside concludes that the outcome of the inspection has been "devastating for all staff" but they remain positive about working to restore confidence in the quality of care provided in and around Stamford.
A summary of the CQC inspection report can be found here.
Coun Kelham Cooke has renewed calls for an alternative GP surgery in Stamford. Click here to read more.