Burton Latimer GP practice requires improvement, say inspectors

A doctors surgery in Burton Latimer has been told it must improve after an out-of-date medicine was found in its medicine cupboard
A doctors surgery in Burton Latimer has been told it must improve after an out-of-date medicine was found in its medicine cupboard

A doctors surgery in Burton Latimer has been told it must improve after an out-of-date medicine was found in its medicine cupboard.

An inspection by the Care Quality Commission also found that some staff at Dr Spencer and Partners, based at Burton Latimer Medical Centre, had not been checked for criminal records, and that some patients found it difficult to get through to the practice by phone.

The inspectors visited the practice in August this year and gave it an overall rating of Requires Improvement.

Chief inspector Prof Steve Field says in his report summary: “Specifically, we found the practice to require improvement for providing safe, effective, responsive and well-led services.

“We found it to be good for providing caring services.”

Regarding the practice’s medicine management, the report says: “We checked medicines stored in the treatment rooms and medicine refrigerator.

“All the medicines including those in the refrigerator were stored securely and were only accessible to authorised staff.

“However, the medicines cupboard was disorganised.

“There was no system in place to record the amount and type of medicines (including vaccines) kept at the practice.

“This included the absence of an inventory of incoming and outgoing medicines and vaccines.

“Although all the vaccines we looked at were within their expiry dates, one of the other medicines we checked had expired.

“The practice staff took steps to dispose of this medicine immediately.”

Concerns were also raised that blank prescription forms were not tracked and there was no process in place to identify if one was missing.

Looking at access to the service, the report says: “During our inspection, we spoke with 14 patients and read the comments left for us by 16 patients.

“There was a mixed response among those who commented on the appointments system and access to the practice.

“Some patients said access to appointments was reasonable.

“Others said access to appointments, including the wait for pre-bookable appointments was poor and getting through to the practice by phone was difficult.”

In March 2015 the practice redesigned the distribution of its appointments in an attempt to improve access.

This followed the installation of two additional telephone lines and the allocation of an extra member of staff to answering telephones for the first hour of each morning.

However, after five months of the new system, patient feedback was still mixed and the wait for some pre-bookable appointments was long, the report found.

The full report can be read here.