WOODSIDE SURGERY: Councillors quiz health chief over ‘inadequate’ surgery
Councillors have grilled a health chief over whether required improvements are being made at a GP surgery which was found to be failing in a number of areas.
Woodside Surgery, in Loftus, east Cleveland, which has about 6,400 NHS patients, was rated as inadequate and placed into special measures by regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following an inspection report in October 2019.
It found some health and social care regulations were breached and the surgery was not sufficiently safe, effective and well led.
An action plan was subsequently put in place with the surgery considered to be on a “trajectory of development and improvement”.
But following a further inspection in September last year, additional areas of concern were identified with the CQC imposing seven urgent conditions to be met if further enforcement action was not to be taken.
Karen Hawkins, the director of commissioning at the Tees Valley Clinical Care Commissioning Group, told Redcar and Cleveland Council’s adult and communities scrutiny and improvement committee it had been working with the practice and providing support.
She said a meeting was held earlier this month with the surgery and the CQC and the regulator was satisfied that it would be able to remedy the urgent action required.
Ms Hawkins said: “The practice has been really positive in their response in working with not only the CQC as the regulator and ourselves as the commissioner, but also with external agencies to make sure they are able to embed change within the practice and that all patient needs are met.”
Woodside would continue to be monitored over the next six months, she said, with inspectors set to return again after that.
Councillor Mary Ovens, who is the cabinet member for adult services, asked about staff shortages and whether there was one core issue that prompted the surgery’s problems.
Ms Hawkins said: “There were a number of issues ranging from governance to record keeping.”
She also said there had been concerns over whether “structured and comprehensive” reviews were taking place with patients in respect of the medicines prescribed to them.
Councillor Steve Kay, cabinet member for health, housing and welfare, said: “We still don’t really know what has been going wrong.
“I am relieved to hear that [the] performance [of the surgery] has not been affected.
“But why did the practice apparently drag its feet and not react straightaway to the poor report?”
Ms Hawkins said: “They have been taking action right through.
“It was only upon subsequent visits that further issues were identified with the practice.”
Cllr Kay asked: “Are you confident the practice will be able to get up to a level where you are satisfied?”
Ms Hawkins replied yes and said the CQC was assured the right action was being taken.
Loftus Councillor Tim Gray said it wasn’t all doom and gloom.
He said: “I have been a patient [of the surgery] since I was born and my wife for the last 35 years.
“It isn’t all rosy and work needs to be done, but my wife and myself have never had an issue or a problem with the doctors.”
A report for members of the committee said that although the CCG was hopeful of a positive outcome for the practice, nonetheless it had made contingency plans to implement emergency arrangements to ensure continuity of care for patients if necessary.
Words: Stuart Arnold, Local Democracy Reporter
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