Shropshire Star

'Inadequate' Shropshire GP surgery put in special measures

A Shropshire medical practice has been placed into special measures after inspectors found it to be 'inadequate'.

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Highley Medical Centre. Photo: Google

Highley Medical Centre near Bridgnorth was inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) last November, as the watchdog responded to concerns received about the quality of care and treatment being provided.

As a result of this inspection, Highley Medical Centre was rated as inadequate overall. It was rated good for being caring, however it was found to require improvement for being effective and responsive, and was deemed inadequate for being safe and well-led. The service was previously rated as good overall.

Janet Ortega, CQC’s head of integrated care and GP inspection, called the findings 'concerning': “When CQC visited Highley Medical Centre, we found a service that wasn’t providing the level of care that people using its services should be able to expect.

“Despite staff demonstrating a kind and caring approach to their patients, leaders could not demonstrate that they had the capacity and skills to address the challenges within the practice.

“It was concerning that the service failed to provide safe care and treatment to patients with long term health conditions. For example, there had been missed diagnoses and poor monitoring of conditions like diabetes which could place people’s health at serious risk.

“Clinicians didn’t always inform patients about abnormal test results and referrals to secondary care. It is essential these areas are improved to prevent harm or further deterioration to people’s health.

“In addition, the service did not have all the required medicines or equipment available should a patient arrive in an emergency."

This week Highley Medical Practice doctors Allen and Consul wrote to patients under its care in response to the CQC's findings.

The letter reads: "As a result of this inspection, we regret to report that the practice has been placed in special measures. Whilst this is hugely disappointing it does enable us to access the support needed to improve the services we provide.

"Before all else, we would like to reassure our patients and service users that we are taking this rating very seriously and are fully committed to improving the service we provide to you.

"Although we feel that the rating does not reflect all the good work our members of staff offer our patients, or the huge impact the Covid-19 pandemic has played on our practice, we are working very hard to bring our services back in line with what is expected by the CQC.

The practice added that an action plan to rectify the faults found in the report has already been drawn up, with support from NHS Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group. The practice also explained that staff would be working with Highley patient group to keep patients updated on the progress being made.

A further inspection to assess progress is expected within the next six months.

The full report for Highley Medical Centre is due published on CQC’s website on Friday.