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Trust-led practice rated 'inadequate' as GP shortage left no doctors on site

A trust-led practice in Derbyshire has been rated as 'inadequate' by the CQC after it was found that a shortage of GPs left no doctors on one of the three sites operated by the provider.

Royal Primary Care, an arm of the Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, was first appointed as caretaker of three practice sites in May 2015 after its previous provider struggled to recruit GPs.

However, the recent CQC inspection of the 21,500-patient practice revealed that recruitment was still an issue with staff reporting instances where no GP was available on one of the three sites.

GP leaders said this was indicative of hospital trusts having little experience of providing primary care.

It comes as Pulse has reported on a number of trusts taking over GP practices, overseeing a salaried GP service.

Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust was first appointed as caretaker of the three surgeries in May 2015 when Holywell Group Practice, which had suffered long-running recruitment woes, was faced with the sudden departure of several GPs.

According to the CQC report the trust, which holds an APMS contract for the practices for 15 years, employs nine salaried GPs to run the three sites at The Grange Family Health Centre, Rectory Road Medical Centre and Inkersall Family Health Centre.

However, the report says inspectors ‘observed queues for reception when the practice opened in the morning’, with patients facing ‘significant problems in contacting the practice by telephone’.

Furthermore, the report says there were ‘occasions when no GP was available on site at the Inkersall location’.

But it added: ‘Royal Primary Care demonstrated that they were actively trying to recruit more GPs to address this issue.’

Dr Peter Holden, treasurer of Derbyshire LMC, told Pulse he wasn’t surprised by the rating, saying: ‘The people there do their best, the managers are dreadful.'

He said: ‘Many of these hospital trusts have no track record in providing primary care, they don’t understand it and recruitment is difficult at the best of times for all of us.

‘And frankly what is a trainee going to choose, a fire fighting life-boat bailout scenario of Royal Primary Care or a stable training practice to work in. It’s a no brainer.’

Dr John Ashcroft, a GP in Derbyshire, said the rating should serve as a ‘wake up call’ for trusts who think running a GP practice is easy.

He added that recruiting in Derbyshire is already difficult, with this CQC rating set to ‘make it even more difficult to recruit, again’.

A spokesperson for the trust told Pulse that the practices has employed a mix of skills in the practice to ease the pressure on GPs.

He said: ‘They work as a practice team, supporting our GPs to ensure that patients get to see the most appropriate professional quickly.

‘We have also introduced a portfolio career opportunity for GPs, which will enable them to increase their skills and knowledge by working in their chosen area such as Emergency Care. This has prompted some interest.

‘Where we use locums we ensure that they are long term and become part of the practice team.’

Readers' comments (7)

  • Just Your Average Joe

    'A spokesperson for the trust told Pulse that the practices has employed a mix of skills in the practice to ease the pressure on GPs.'

    In other words - 'We can't recruit GPs, so we use anyone else we can find to pretend they can do the job instead, at a reduced price of course which is great.

    If only we could get those pesky patients to be happy seeing Noctors.

    We are aware that on occasions these Noctors may be suitably skilled to deal with the problems they face, but don't actually care that often they are not appropriately skilled and may miss stuff which could be actually really dangerous for patients.

    What is important is that we have provided someone for them to see (It was the practice cleaner - who is a key member of the team), and let's forget about the potential disasters that could be waiting down the road until they actually hit, as I as a NHS manager will hopefully be in another job by then setting up more of these special NHS saving schemes in other areas on a juicy bonus.'

    Just imagining.....

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  • @ 5.51pm

    If the NHS can treat hospital consultants the way it does (google Raj Mattu NHS whistleblower) do you seriously think it gives two hoots about GP's?

    This stuff will get covered up until perhaps the media gets hold of it. The NHS is about volume not quality.

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  • media doesnt care as media is part of the establishment

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  • See all the articles about similar issues, practice list closures, seaside town pressures.... No quite sure what Jeremy Hunt really wants as policy direction does not seem to recognise the issues most affecting the NHS.

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  • AlanAlmond

    Why would a hospital trust have any idea how to run a primary care service? Why would s hospital trust be more successful recruiting GPs than the GPs who previously ran the service. Crisis management nothing else.
    Welcome to the future.
    JH is presumably treading water until all the Drs can be replace by AI, which he recently confidently predicted would be possible 'within the next 10 years'. Smart man..he made a of money selling hotcourses magazine..that's why he's running the NHS ...Only he's completely wrong isn't he ...

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  • This comment has been moderated

  • ‘Very easy job for a lot of money’ some airline boss recently said. This undermining and dememeaning highly skilled professionals is everywhere, not just the NHS! It will bite them in the ass but by then we’ll be too busy making tons of money in the private sector to give a shit. That’s what happens when total morons are in charge.

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  • WTF- were you referring to Ryanair.... who have no pilots left because they treat them like s**t? Dr Dr is right..... the media is part of the establishment....

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