Inspectors threaten surgery with closure

Sleaford Medical Group, Riverside Surgery. EMN-180313-140348001
Sleaford Medical Group, Riverside Surgery. EMN-180313-140348001

Sleaford’s largest GP practice will remain in ‘special measures’ and faces closure unless it improves in the next six months after a follow up inspection by the Care Quality Commission found its service was still rated as ‘Inadequate’.

The CQC visited Sleaford Medical Group, based on Boston Road, in April when it initially placed the practice in special measures. The practice pledged last summer that it had resolved, or was addressing, issues raised.

However, a follow-up visit in September found the practice had not made all the improvements and a letter of concern was sent. Action plans were requested on a fortnightly basis.

Six months after the initial inspection, another visit was made on December 19, finding insufficient improvement.

Chief Inspector of General Practice, Prof Steve Field said in his report: “Therefore we are taking action in line with our enforcement procedures to begin the process of preventing the provider from operating the service.

“This will lead to cancelling their registration, or to varying the terms of their registration within six months if they do not improve.

“The service will be kept under review and if needed could be escalated to urgent enforcement action.”

The practice was rated as ‘inadequate’ for safe, responsive and well led services, and required improvement for providing effective and caring services.

It was also ‘inadequate’ in terms of being responsive and well-led.

Prof Field reported the practice had taken some steps to ensure patient safety, but further work was required to learn from significant incidents and deal with complaints.

Staff treated patients with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect, but Prof Field added: “Patients we spoke with told us they found it difficult to use the appointment system.”

The system also fell below national patient survey averages.

Pamela Palmer, Chief Nurse for South West Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, which acts for GPs locally, said: “We will continue to work with the practice to ensure that patients can access services offered as usual.

“We remain committed to providing the highest quality care for our patients,” she said.