Arlesey Medical Centre has been rated as ‘inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and placed in special measures following an inspection in September.
Under CQC’s programme of inspections, all England’s GP practices are given a rating according to whether they are safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.
When CQC inspected the GP service (also known as Sunnyhill Healthcare CIC), on the High Street, Arlesey, it was found to be providing services to their patients that did not meet the standards people should be able to expect.
In the different areas that the inspectors looked at, the GP service was rated as ‘inadequate’ in the safe and well-led categories, ‘requires improvement’ for responsive and effective, and ‘good’ for caring.
The report, which has just been published, said: “Services placed in special measures will be inspected again within six months.
“If insufficient improvements have been made such that there remains a rating of inadequate for any population group, key question or overall, we will take 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.
“Where necessary, another inspection will be conducted within a further six months, and if there is not enough improvement we will move to close the service by adopting our proposal to remove this location or cancel the provider’s registration.
“Special measures will give people who use the service the reassurance that the care they get should improve.”
The CQC report added: “The practice is rated as good for providing caring services because: patients told us staff were caring and compassionate and worked hard to meet their needs,
“The practice had identified 1% of the practice population as carers and offered appropriate support.
“The areas where the provider should make improvements are: improve cervical screening uptake and improve the identification and support for carers.
“There were areas where the provider must make improvements as they are in breach of regulation. They are: ensure care and treatment is provided in a safe way to patients, establish effective systems and processes to ensure good governance in accordance with the fundamental standards of care.”
A spokesperson for Arlesey Medical Centre said: “Sunnyhill healthcare CIC is working with Central Bedfordshire Council to make significant changes to the practice; we have had a new roof and ongoing work is continuing with new ceilings.
“We have had a full refurbishment internally with new flooring and the practice painted. As a team we are all working very hard to improve the practice.”
At the last inspection in March 2017 the CQC rated the practice as ‘good’ overall.
Janet Williamson, Deputy Chief Inspector of General Practice and Dentistry in CQC’s Central region said: “It is important that the people who are registered with these practices can rely on getting the high quality care which everyone is entitled to receive from their GP.
“Inspectors found this service was failing to provide the level of care people should be able to expect.
“We found a number of concerns at this service and as a result of our findings they have been rated Inadequate and placed into special measures.
“We will continue to monitor the practice and we will inspect again in six months to check whether improvements have been made.
“I am hopeful that the practice will do what is required for the sake of their patients, but if we find that they remain Inadequate, we will consider taking further action.”
The report detailing inspectors’ findings are available on CQC’s website: www.cqc.org.uk.