A Lancashire medical centre has been taken over by a new team after it was placed in special measures by healthcare regulators who found that ‘a lack of capacity and capability’ in leadership.
Croston Medical Centre in Brookfield, Croston, which cares for some 3,911 patients, was slammed by inspectors from England’s healthcare regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), after a visit in June.
In the report released on September 18, inspectors revealed that the surgery had been placed into special measures following an overall rating of Inadequate – the worst of four possible ratings.
They criticised the leadership of the practice, noting it “lacked capacity and capability”. They also noted how “a culture to provide high quality care in the practice was lacking”.
The service was rated Inadequate in this area due to previous repeated ratings of Requires Improvement in November 2016, June 2017, and January 2018 – highlighting its “history of non-compliance” in correcting this, according to inspectors.
Inspectors also noted how safety was inadequate, with management of some high-risk medicines lacking comprehensiveness as well as incomplete safety records and appropriate risk assessments.
Alison Holbourn, Deputy Chief Inspector of General Practice for the North, said: “The leadership of the practice is struggling and needs additional capacity and capability. A culture to provide high quality care in the practice was lacking, in addition governance systems were not understood and so were not being operated effectively.
“It was disappointing to see so little involvement from patients - the patient participation group had not met for some time. Staff also felt that there was insufficient time to have any influence on service provision.
“The practice has had three previous inspections where inadequate arrangements around management and governance had been identified and enforcement was taken. Despite this the practice had still not addressed the issues.
“It is important that people who are registered with the Croston Medical Centre can rely on getting high quality care.
"We are therefore taking action in line with our enforcement procedures but we are aware the provider has applied to cancel their registration with CQC and a new provider will be in place.”
The surgery was also rated as Requires Improvement for effectiveness – but Good for its services being caring and responsive.
Inspectors noted that: “Staff involved and treated patients with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect.
“Patients found the appointment system easy to use and reported that they could access care when they needed it.
“The practice took patient complaints seriously and responded to them appropriately.”
A spokesman for Croston Medical Centre said: “We were pleased to read that CQC found that we are good at providing caring and responsive services to our patients.
“However, we were naturally disappointed to receive some of the feedback about areas that we need to improve on.
“We believe that the reason we have been marked down on the organisation of the practice by the Care Quality Commission is that we have been unable to recruit a Practice Manager to support the practice despite our best efforts to do so.
“We do recognise the importance of having robust systems and processes in place and have focused our efforts as a matter of urgency to improve our organisation and administration.
“To do this, we have taken on some management support from colleagues from a local GP practice who have the expertise and capacity to support our GPs and staff.
“This team will take over the future management of Croston Medical Centre from October 1, 2018, so we can continue to provide a high quality service to our patients.”
The practice also has a branch in Eccleston Health Centre in Doctors Lane, Eccleston, but this was not visited for this inspection.