There are currently five GPs’ surgeries in the North East which have been told to improve by the Care Quality Commission. Each was inspected over the last year by the CQC either in response to concerns raised by patients or to follow-up on previous inspections.
The CQC’s role to provide assurance that care offered by health and social care providers meets legal standards – and its inspection teams rate services based on five main criteria: Being safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led. Inspectors provide a rating for each area, along with an overall score.
Each of the five GPs’ surgeries around Tyne and Wear which currently have a rating of “requires improvement” saw a mixed bag of ratings. All received a “good” score in at least some areas, and it is important to remember that the CQC reports require improvements to be made – and the GPs involved usually respond by concerns on board. At the moment, no practices in Northumberland or County Durham have this rating.
Read more: The 26 GPs’ practices in the North East rated ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission
With GPs and other healthcare staff – including receptionists – facing more abuse than ever, it’s vital to treat healthcare staff politely. These are the five GPs’ practices which, as of June 2022, the CQC has put on notice to improve:
- The Park Medical Group, Fawdon Park Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, NE3 2PE
The Park was last inspected by the CQC on November 29 2021. It was rated requires overall improvement, and for being safe, effective and well-led. It received a good rating for being caring and responsive to patient needs. The inspectors highlighted issues including with medication and with the care offered to those with long-term conditions. But inspectors praised how the practice involved patients in their care and its safeguarding procedures.
In response, Dr Alison Charlewood a GP partner said: “Our priority is always to provide the best possible care for our patients. The pandemic has been a challenging time for most practices, but we have taken the inspectors’ concerns on board and taken steps to improve some of our internal systems.” She added patients should feel safe using the practice as normal, and “we will take good care of their health needs”.
- Parkway Medical Centre, Chapel House Primary Care Centre, Hillhead Parkway, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, NE5 1LJ
Inspected in December 2021 on the back of raised concerns by patients, Parkway Medical Center in Chapel House was rated requires improvement both overall and in four of the five key areas. It was however rated as good for being caring. Inspectors raised concerns about “significant staff shortages” and issues diagnosing patients with chronic kidney disease.
A spokesperson for the practice said: “The CQC has shared their inspection report with us and we’ve developed an action plan to address the concerns. Since the inspection, we have successfully recruited a nurse practitioner and another GP. We are confident this will help to improve the availability of appointments. We encourage patients to contact us with any feedback they may have.”
- Hollyhurst Medical Centre, 8 Front Street, Blaydon On Tyne, Tyne And Wear, NE21 4RD
Hollyhurst Medical Center – run by IJ Healthcare in Winlaton – was last inspected in September 2021. It received good ratings for being caring and responsive, but requires improvement for being safe, effective and well-led. The most recent inspection was to follow-up a remote inspection carried out during Covid-19’s early days in December 2020 which had flagged issues around medicines and the monitoring of patient safety alerts.
At the follow-up inspection, it was found that although improvements had been made, “there remained further work to be carried out” around the monitoring of patients’ medication. Poor staff morale was also raised as an issue along with a lack of a stable team. But inspectors did find that patients received “effective care and treatment that met their needs”.
- Castletown Medical Centre, 6 The Broadway, Sunderland, Tyne And Wear, SR5 3EX
Inspected in February and March 2022, Castletown Medical Center received good ratings for being caring and responsive, but was told to improve on the three other metrics. This was a follow-up inspection after the practice was placed in special measures and rated inadequate in May 2021. Inspectors reported that, compared to the previous report, the practice had improved substantially. They wrote: “At this inspection we saw some positive improvements to systems were in place to assess monitor and manage risks to patient safety. A great deal of work had been done to make these changes.”
However, inspectors said their concerns related to a high turnover of admin staff. They also raised issues around record-keeping. However the CQC said the practice received a good rating for being caring because of positive GP survey results and good feedback from the NHS friends and families test.
A spokesperson for the practice highlighted the positive elements of the report and said: “We scored good in patient caring and responsive to patient needs, we are pleased our hard work is getting recognised and we will continue to keep improving. CCG safeguarding team – and said a “whole new team” was in place and patients had recognised this as “exceptional”. They added: “[We] have implemented procedures and training to help us deliver an excellent service. We have already seen positive improvement and we have been receiving regular compliments from our patients.”
- Forge Medical Practice, Pallion Park, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, SR4 6QE
Inspected in September 2021, the Forge Medical Practice received a requires an overall improvement rating and in two of the five categories: for being safe and effective. It received a good rating for the other three areas. This was after a “focused inspection” just looking at the safe, effective and well-led criteria.
The inspectors highlighted how there were issues with the management and review of patients with long-term conditions and with how patients’ needs were assessed. The CQC team was also concerned about arrangements around the prescribing of warfarin – which is a high-risk medication used to thin the blood.
However, the inspectors also found the practice was able to make improvements in light of feedback and had an improvement plan in place. They also highlighted strong safeguarding procedures and “evidence the culture of the practice had started to change”.