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Practice in Leeds under ‘special measures’

by Valeria Fiore
19 December 2017

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The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated a practice in Leeds as inadequate overall and put it in special measures, following an inspection carried out in August 2017.

The Highfield Medical Centre in Bramley, Leeds, was already rated inadequate during another inspection carried out one year ago.

It must now improve on safety, effectiveness and being well-led, said the CQC report.

The recently appointed managing partner, Methven Forbes told Management in Practice ‘[GP partner] Dr Mark Fuller and I have significant experience in delivering high quality healthcare rated as Outstanding by CQC. As new partners of The Highfield Medical Centre, we can assure patients that we will address the issues raised in the latest CQC report and deliver the high quality GP services our patients expect.’

Staff shortages

The CQC inspectors found ‘no evidence that [Medicines and Health Regulatory (MHRA) and other patient safety alerts] had been discussed by the clinical team to share learning and action taken’.

Deputy chief inspector of general practice for the north Alison Holbourn said: ‘The service will be kept under review and if needed could be escalated to urgent enforcement action and if there is not enough improvement we will move to close the service.’

The practice, which is situated in one of the most deprived areas in Leeds, looks after 4,775 patients.

Staff told the CQC inspectors that increased workload and a shortage of staff prevented them from fulfilling their job requirements in a safe way.  

Mr Forbes said that The Highfield Medical Centre has been historically understaffed, and thinks this might be due to the practice investing all its income in funding clinical services, which would leave no funds available to hire more staff.

Hopes for the future 

Mr Forbes and GP partner Dr Fuller, both recently appointed, are confident they will manage to guarantee a good level of care is provided to patients at The Highfield Medical Centre.

Mr Forbes continued: ‘We will be publishing our action plan in the New Year so that our patients, local stakeholders and other key partners can see how we will deliver better, improved care for our patients.’

Dr Fuller added: ‘As part of our change program, our patients can look forward to a 50% increase in the number of appointments available in the New Year, and at more accessible times.  Further, we will be embarking on a full building refurbishment to ensure that the premises are welcoming and meet the standards of a modern 21st Century health centre.’