GP practice must improve, say inspectors

A DOWNEND medical practice has been told to improve by the health regulator.

The Care Quality Commission visited Christchurch Family Medical Centre on North Street in June for a comprehensive inspection, and also visited the Downend Health Group’s Willow Surgery in Hill House Road.

The CQC said the inspection, which was announced in advance, was “to follow up concerns reported to us”.

Its report, published at the end of August, concluded that the practice required improvement in three out of five areas – safety, effectiveness and leadership. It was given a ‘good’ rating for caring and responsiveness.

The inspectors said they found breaches of regulations relating to the review of safety alerts and how they could affect patients’ care and treatment, reviews of patients on two types of high blood pressure medicine, monitoring of patients with long term conditions such as asthma and diabetes and evidence for decisions not to attempt resuscitation for some patients.

The report concluded: “The practice did not always provide care that kept patients safe. In particular, medicines that require monitoring and appropriate actioning of safety alerts.

“Patients did not always receive effective care and treatment that met their needs. In particular, action taken when patients are at risk or have developed a long term condition.”

The CQC said the practice must ensure care and treatment is provided in a safe way to patients, and establish effective systems and processes to ensure good governance.

Responding to the report, Downend Health Group said: “We value the insights provided by the CQC inspection and are committed to providing safe and effective care for the community we serve. 

“Since the publication of the report, we have been working with the CQC inspectors to implement changes to our systems and processes, in all the areas highlighted, and we expect this to be reflected when the service is inspected again.”

The Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Integrated Care Board, which is responsible for funding health care, said: “While it is encouraging that the practice was rated ‘Good’ for providing caring and responsive services, it is disappointing that it has been rated as ‘Requires Improvement’ overall.

“The practice has confirmed its commitment to making the necessary improvements, with support available from the ICB as required.”

The CQC also inspected two other practices in the area, Leap Valley Medical Centre in Beaufort Road and Emersons Green Medical Centre.

It found both practices, run by Green Valleys Health, to be ‘good’ in all areas, after an inspection last year had said they needed to make improvements in providing responsive care.

A spokesperson for Green Valleys Health said: “Both the Partners and the team at Green Valleys are delighted that the efforts and changes put in place over the last few years have come to fruition and Green Valleys have now achieved a ‘Good’ rating. 

“However, we know that there are services that still need to improve such as wait times with regard to call waiting.  Over the next year we have several improvements that will be put in place ensuring that we continue to build on the positive aspects of the CQC report. ”