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Independents' Day

GP practice closed after failing to meet CQC premises standards

A practice has been closed and patients given just two weeks to find another GP, partly due to a critical CQC report into its premises.

NHS England Essex Area Team announced that Clements House Surgery in South Woodham Ferrers will close on Monday 30 September, and apologised for the late notice given to patients.

An NHS England spokesperson confirmed that a CQC pre-inspection that had raised concerns about the building ‘partly’ informed the decision to close the surgery.

The closure comes after a following a public consultation into the future of service delivery there. As part of the consultation, most patients said they were satisfied with services at the current surgery but expressed the wish for a permanent GP to manage their care. Respondents to the consultation also raised concerns about the building.

NHS bosses have apologised for giving patients just two weeks to find another GP, but said that all had been informed.

Earlier this year, Pulse reported that hundreds of GPs will have to spend more money on improving the quality of their premises in order to avoid closure, as the CQC released figures that showed a fifth were non-compliant with at least one of its standards.

Mr Ian Stidston, director of commissioning at NHS England (Essex) apologised for the delay in informing patients of the closure.

He said: ‘The Clements House Surgery will close on Monday 30 September and all patients have been written to informing them of alternative GP surgeries in the area.

‘We can only apologise for the delay in informing patients. We understand that there may be some patients who will be disappointed, but failure to meet CQC requirements has partly informed this decision.’

‘We would like to reassure patients that NHS England (Essex) will be working with the Clements House to support patients through the period of closure.  There is good capacity among other practices in the area that will be able to easily accommodate patients choosing to register with them.’

Mr John Niland, chief executive of Central Essex Community Services CIC, who held a temporary contract to run the practice since May, said the decision to close the practice was taken by NHS England’s Essex area team.

He said: ‘The decision to close Clements House Surgery was taken by the Essex Area Team of NHS England, as their press statement makes clear. Central Essex Community Services (CECS) was not involved in the decision-making process.’

A CQC spokesperson confirmed that the practice’s registration was refused due to concerns over the building: ‘An application to register the Clements House surgery was made by the CiC late last year. A site visit was carried out by one of our assessors early in February 2013. In May 2013 CQC refused the application due to concerns that the premises could not meet the requirements of patient privacy, dignity and confidentiality.

‘The CiC appealed the CQC proposal to refuse registration and CQC was considering their appeal. However, following the announcement by NHS England to close the surgery the CiC has withdrawn the application.’

Dr John McCormack, a GP at a nearby practice in South Woodham Ferrers, mid Essex, said he would take on some of the patients from the closing practice.

He said: ‘It’s absolute chaos. In giving them in only a couple of weeks they’ve created a furore with patients queuing out the door, with patients trying to get on lists before the doors close.’

Readers' comments (6)

  • Close a practice because the building does not lend itself to maintaining confidentiality and privacy but allow free access to patients notes? I don't understand England anymore. Ex pat GP

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  • could a property development company not come in and redevelop the site, working in conjunction with the area team and the practice. It may even help if there are other surgeries in the area that are in a similar situation.

    This would mean that the list does not have to close.

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  • The list has been closed for over 12 months. It had an active Patient Participation/Action group who wanted to take over the running the Surgery. I fear NHS England plan was to close the Surgery from the outset. CQC was the icing on the cake!

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  • Were the patients complaining or is this the nannies from CQC deciding what is good for people? Shame they are not as vigilant in dealing with reports into infant mortality in hospitals.

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  • I am not sure who is getting the benefit of money in registering with CQC, perhaps people working for the CQC and ? some rich private sector. It will better if the CQC starts building premises and let them out to practices rather than disqualifying the practices' premises and bringing the private sector through back doors.

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  • were the patients happy with the closure?
    Was there any patient survey done by CCG before taking such a serious action to close the premises?

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