A Rushden medical centre has been put into special measures after being declared unsafe.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has handed the Lakeside Healthcare at Rushden an inadequate rating and warned that if it does not improve in six months, the Lakeside Healthcare Group could be stopped from operating the service.
An inspection in June, triggered by a breach of legal requirements, found a series of major problems at the medical centre including not managing test results properly, not adequately monitoring the health of patients on high risk medicines and failing to document or handle complaints properly.
The operator’s chief medical director has said the group has ‘mobilised a senior clinical team to address the various issues’ and taken ‘immediate action to improve patient care’.
The Lakeside Healthgroup Group, which runs nine sites across the region, has been running the former Rushden Medical Centre in Adnitt Road since a merger two years ago.
The inspection judged that overall services were unsafe and badly led. It comes after a requirements improvement judgement from an earlier inspection in November.
The report says: “We found that: At this inspection we still had concerns about the clinical oversight and governance arrangements in place.
“The leadership, governance and culture of the practice did not always promote the delivery of high quality person-centred care.
“Patients’ health was not always monitored in a timely manner to ensure medicines were being used safely and followed up on appropriately.”
Detailed in the evidence given by inspectors to back up their inadequate grading was a series of problems.
The inspectors found that 111 patients on medicine to treat hypertension and congestive heart failure were not being managed appropriately; that minutes of meeting to discuss events where safety had been an issue were not documented in enough detail and the practice had not been responding to complaints in some cases.
The health watchdog has now said that the practice, which has 11,000 patients and five GPs, must set up effective systems to ensure good governance and should review staff training requirements for health care assistants.
In response Dr Miles Langdon, Chief Medical Officer at Lakeside Healthcare Group said: “We would like to thank the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for their highly detailed, instructive and helpful report. It highlights the areas where we have made good, solid progress and helps us identify areas where further improvements are needed to ensure our services remain safe for all of our patients. It is very encouraging that the CQC has rated us GOOD in the ‘caring, effective and responsive’ domains.
“Having read the CQC report and reflected on its contents, we accept that we have not always been able to provide the level of service that we would want or is expected. Since receiving the initial feedback from CQC, we have mobilised a senior clinical team to address the various issues raised and have taken immediate action to improve the care and experience for our patients.
“We remain deeply committed to providing the best possible patient care and the right culture and environment for our staff and are working very closely with colleagues in the clinical commissioning group to ensure our service is of a high quality.
“The Rushden leadership team are focused on our Quality Improvement Plan, and we will continue to talk openly and honestly with our patients about the progress we are making.
“At all times, our priority is to provide high quality, safe and compassionate care for all of our stakeholders.”
A spokesperson for the NHS Nene Clinical Commissioning Group said: “As the joint commissioners of GP services, our priority is ensuring patients can access safe and high quality services that meet the high standards they rightly expect. A recent CQC review, which was rightly thorough, has highlighted a number of areas where the practice needs to improve.
“We appreciate that patients may be concerned about the CQC’s findings. We are working closely with all of the practice team to address the significant concerns raised and make the required improvements as quickly as possible.”