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Independents' Day

CQC closes practice following unannounced inspection during Eid

A practice has said it is 'shocked' by a CQC decision to close one of its surgeries with immediate effect following an ‘additional unannounced inspection on Eid’.

The closure of Strelley Surgery, which serves 4,600 patients in Nottingham, occurred after an inspection on 'one of the holiest days in Islam,’ according to the practice, which said this had an impact on staff availability.

In a statement provided by Beechdale Medical Group, which runs the practice and three others surgeries in Nottingham, its senior partner Dr Marcus Bicknell claimed two of Strelley Surgery’s staff were affected by the additional inspection on Eid and as a result, were ‘unable to completely answer some questions’.

The CQC said it was taking action to 'protect the welfare and safety of patients'.

Beechdale Medical Group's statement said: ‘We are disappointed that the CQC chose to hold an additional unannounced inspection on Eid, one of the holiest days in Islam; two of our senior staff were affected by this. Indeed, one was unable to attend and therefore we were unable to completely answer some questions which came under that manager’s remit. Cultural sensitivity, equality and diversity are of great importance to us and to the NHS.

'In our opinion, the CQC has created more risk in immediately closing Strelley Surgery down than working with us to improve services and potentially organise a planned closure or change of service provider.'

Dr Bicknell claimed that many local patients' care had already been 'disrupted' by the CQC.

He said: 'In the last six months, the actions of the CQC have disrupted the care of approximately 16,000 patients in Nottingham; approximately 13,000 of these patients live in Bilborough and Strelley.

'Since 2013, over 500,000 patients in England have had to find a new GP. The closure of GP services in Beeston and Wollaton at "Doctors Corner" have also had an impact upon patients.

'There is no doubt that the pressure placed by the CQC on general practice is having a major impact upon the profession.'

The statement also added: 'We are shocked and surprised that the Care Quality Commission has taken the decision to close the surgery with immediate effect.'

Dr Bicknell acknowledged concerns raised by the CQC during previous inspections and said the practice had since taken steps to address the problems.

He said: ‘The CQC were unhappy with our triage service and clinical availability at Strelley. We agreed to stop the triage service as the CQC were considering whether or not we could remain open. However there are insufficient clinical rooms at Strelley Health Centre to provide enough GP appointments to reassure the CQC that our service would be safe and as such they determined that we should close.’

Dr Bicknell added: ‘We have been working tirelessly over the past three years to provide better health and social care facilities at Strelley Health Centre which we have regarded from the outset as not being fit for purpose. Significant funding has been identified. Senior councillors and politicians have supported us in these endeavours.

‘We hope that the NHS will find a way to ensure that the citizens of Strelley are provided with health care facilities of a high standard which will serve them well in the future.'

A CQC spokesperson said: 'CQC carried out inspections at Strelley Health Centre, Nottingham, on 14 and 20 May 2019 and returned on 5 June as a result of a number of concerns.

'We are taking action to protect the welfare and safety of patients. While our legal processes do not allow us to go in to further detail at this time, we will publish a report in due course. In the meantime we continue to work closely with the CCG. All CQC's action is open to appeal.'

This month an independent review commissioned by the GMC said the CQC should scrutinise the working environments of doctors being investigated for gross negligence manslaughter or culpable homicide.

Readers' comments (15)

  • I am not a major fan of the CQC - but what I do know is that this level of enforcement action is not taken lightly. It is slightly unfair to criticise them without the right of reply - until at least the report has been published. I suspect reading the report will result in much more information as to why this practice was failing. I suspect many of the reasons cannot be fully explained by the day the visit happened to fall on.

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  • May I ask how many CQC inspections have been performed on Christmas Eve?

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  • Cobblers

    More the equivalent of Christmas Day.

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  • I can't see many circumstances where closing a surgery would make the situation safer for the patients than keeping the surgery and improving it.

    This is a great shame for the practice and patients involved. The report may shed more light.

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  • Like ObiOne says not taken lightly, and I speak as someone who had a practice closed at short notice in my PFI building.

    There CQC reports (note pleural) make unpleasant reading as did all the TV and newspaper coverage.

    Feel for all concerned.

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  • We don’t know the details yet, but it doesn’t matter if it is Eid or Diwali or Xmas eve - we are contracted to provide a service and if it Is not safe then proper action needs to be taken

    Obviously we don’t have the details yet

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  • Appreciate that not all details are available yet, but there is one thing that we can be sure of.
    If this turns out to be a CQC screw up then there will be no unannounced inspections for their good boys and girls.

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  • Is This possibly a problem with lack of funding and support from the CCG? The article suggests not enough room to provide services.

    It has become very difficult to get a surgery improvement project approved by your CCG. I have it on good authority, that NHS England have money to support surgery improvement projects, but some CCGs have secretly adopted a policy of not signing off applications which would result in an increase of notional rent. The overspent CCGs do not want to be committed to extra on costs.

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  • ObiOne your are a fair person. CQQ I am uncertain but I hope you are right but unfortunately, the GMC and now NHS resolution does not behave fairly. All one sided stories/investigations with no fair course for doctors to defend themselves.

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  • There will be an STP estates policy no doubt than means only 1 or 2 developments will happen in the whole of the county. This is how it is in my County and my area is not getting anything useable

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