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Independents' Day

GPs told £300k refit needed to meet CQC requirements

Exclusive A GP practice has been told by NHS managers its surgery must have a £300,000 refurbishment in order to prepare for CQC inspection.

The practice in Solihull has been told their Monkspath Surgery, which was built in 1985, was non-compliant with infection control rules and must be completely refurbished.

Managers have ordered the GPs at the practice to spend £100,000 of their own money on the refurbishment. The PCT is meeting £200,000 in costs to replace ceilings, remove all carpets and skirting boards from the surgery.

The PCT said it was simply trying to provide a ‘safe environment for patients’, but the CQC has criticised the work as unnecessary, and urged any practice faced with PCT demands to refurbish their premises to contact them.

Dr Simon Green, a partner in the practice, told Pulse: ‘The PCT infection control told us the practice would be non-compliant with CQC Outcome 8 and we needed to remove all the carpets, replace all stippled ceilings, remove all the skirting boards and have heavy duty lino going up the walls to become compliant.

‘There was a big element that if we did this now there would be some PCT grant money, the anxiety was that if we left it we would have to do it in the future and it would cost us considerably more.’

He said that the carpets were in a good condition and he was told by the PCT team that lino flooring was essential to pass CQC inspection.

A statement by Solihull PCT said they carried out infection control audits to ensure practices provide a ‘safe environment for the delivery of primary healthcare for patients’ and to assess whether a grant was needed to support the work.

She said: ‘It is up to the individual practices to develop and implement an action plan in response to those recommendations. We provide advice and guidance.’

When approached by Pulse with details of the case, the CQC said PCTs were wrong to insist on these refurbishments.

A spokesman said: ‘We won’t refuse any registration just because you don’t have modern or state-of-the-art premises. We’ll only take action if patients are being put at risk by unsafe premises.

‘Equally rumours such as carpets and soft furnishings in waiting rooms will have to be removed due to infection issues control are absolutely false. These are matters that are not likely to cause the CQC any concern, or lead to non-compliance with the essential standards of quality and safety.

‘The Commission is aware that some PCTs have been saying this to practices and would encourage any one who has encountered this behaviour pass that information on to the CQC who will advise the PCT their advice is wrong.’

Last month, the CQC said it had issued two closure notices to GP practices stating that the regulator intends to refuse their registration.

Readers' comments (12)

  • I would suggest the practice ask the PCT to clarify the situation by post on 1/4/13.

    Wait a minute! The PCT will be history then. Bother they can't then insist on this happening.

    Problem solved.

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  • They will. The person currently employed by the PCT that is asking for this will likely be working for the commissioning board on April 1st and will reply with their new hat on.

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  • Peter Swinyard

    Almost defies belief that some ill informed pen pusher (or keyboard botherer) at a dying PCT is trying to waste £200,000 of NHS money and (worse) £100,000 of partners' money on completely unnecessary "improvements". When will the infection control mafia realise that we are not little hospitals and actually look at the number of infections picked up by our patients in our surgery. ("None" did I hear you cry?) against how many in hospitals - and aim their guns accordingly.
    The Family Doctor Association clarified with the CQC at an early stage that carpets, curtains and toys were NOT a barrier to registration nor to good medical care - and have informed and supported our members along these lines. The PCT manager who spouted this nonsense should be named and shamed as a waster of public money and GP time and grief - and barred from future positions in which he/she can cause damage like this in the future.

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  • What about Outcome 10: Safety & Suitability of Premises? For some reason Outcome 8 & Outcome 10 seem to be treated as independent areas by the CQC. Surely Infection Control & Safety & Suitability of Premises are interlinked?

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  • Peter Swinyard

    Sorry about second comment - I have had a look at the website for this surgery - and the environment looks really patient friendly with nice waiting room decor, wheelchair-friendly access and lovely comfy chairs for patients. Looks like the sort of practice that CQC inspectors would favour in terms of patient experience etc which is a major inspection criterion.

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  • "Infection issues control ...... These are matters that are not likely to cause the CQC any concern, or lead to non-compliance with the essential standards of quality and safety"

    The PCT has actually seen the premises but the CQC hasn't. Based on this evidence the CQC says infection control is irrelevant and it will sign you off as compliant with the Essential Standards.

    Isn't this how Winterbourne happened and isn't this why Mid-Staffs got into a pickle?

    Does anyone here see a problem? Anyone?
    Wake up all. The emperor has no clothes

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  • Yet again the PCT managers are claiming to have knowledge and are using power that they do not actually have.This has happened to me too on several occasions. At first I just believed them but now I question and check everything which costs me money. Stand up for yourselves. Question everything the PCT demands. I was told to remove carpets and fit electric doors. The CQC assure me that this is not required. In all seriousness, PCT managers make things up and somehow they become concrete. I have had them say legal things to me that we're completely wrong as well. I currently have some junior manager telling me legal 'facts' which she has no knowledge or expertise in at all. My lawyer has confirmed that they are talking rubbish and we will shortly be taking them to court. They are a nightmare and I am so glad they are going. I just pray that the CCGs will be better.

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  • The fault is not in our stars that we are underlings. We, doctors, have become whinging, cringing profession while solicitors are paid £ 200.00 an hour from the public purse in legal aid. When can we leave the horrible NHS?

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  • If doctors have become 'whingers..etc' Anonymous, it is because of Tories who are using every trick in the book to destroy the service they are trying desperately to protect and deliver ie. the NHS. I would hope it is not ' all about the money' either. The NHS is what you make it.

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  • You have been conned

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