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Independents' Day

Practice placed in CQC special measures to close after struggling to improve within six months

A branch of a GP practice is set to close, conceding that it does not have enough time to turn things around after the CQC placed it immediately in ‘special measures’.

Rowlands Gill Medical Centre in Gateshead - which includes two practices on different sites - is to close its branch at High Spen, after claiming six months isn’t enough time to renovate its premises, as highlighted by the CQC.

Practices found to be inadequate by the CQC will immediately be put into special measures and are given a six months to turn things around, but if the practice is still providing inadequate care, the CQC will make moves to cancel its registration with the regulator.

According to the local newspaper Chronicle Live, the practice has needed to improve its premises for ‘several years’.

The regulator had also discovered a myriad of other problems at the practice including gaps in the management of training and appraisal for staff, patients reporting difficulties in getting through on the phone to book an appointment – but they did say they were treated with compassion and dignity.

Speaking to Chronicle Live, Dr Neil Morris, medical director for the NHS Newcastle Gateshead CCG, said: ‘We understand that the practice has reluctantly decided to close the High Spen branch surgery in view of concerns about the quality of accommodation available on the site.’

Dr Rob Dawson, Rowlands Gill Medical Centre, said: ‘Over more than two decades we have been committed to providing the best possible care for local people, and that has not changed. We are aware of the issues raised by the CQC and were already working on solutions for the majority of them. The practice will continue to work with NHS England and Gateshead CCG to ensure we meet the inspectors’ requirements.

‘It is with great regret that we have taken the decision in light of the CQC’s advice to close the branch surgery at High Spen on Tuesday 12 May. This follows their concerns about safety of the premises and the limited range of primary care facilities at the branch.’

This comes after a GP lost his case against the CQC to re-open his practice following the regulator’s decision to deny him registration.

This article was updated on 1/5/15 at 14:50.



Readers' comments (8)

  • great to see CQC doing its job ... so many more small practices to target and so little time ....

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  • ''close the High Spen branch surgery in view of concerns about the quality of ACCOMMODATION''

    I wonder what sort of premises (accommodation) did this surgery have. I hope they was not running it from a studio flat.

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  • I'm a bit confused.
    It sounds as though the main part of the practice has not closed - only the branch surgery - and that the problem was the accomodation: the other problems don't appear (from the article) to be the reason for the branch surgery closure.
    How many other practices - especially those in very deprived areas - are also working out of inadequate premises? Seeing the lack of investment over the past 10 years or so, I imagine there must be a great many.
    So if the sole grounds for closure was "inadequate premises" (and nothing done about it in 6 months: anyone ever applied for premisise funding or planning permission?) I suspect CQC will be closing many other practices in the very near future!

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  • Studio flat? We used to dream about practicing from a studio flat. Our branch surgery was a paper bag in a septic tank and the main building was a hole in the ground, covered by a sheet of tarpaulin. And you try telling the young GPs of today that...

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  • Is this hte way to close your branch surgery - let it get run down then the CQC will force you to close it. It is very difficult to close one otherwise

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  • I'm a bit confused by this report's use of the word "practice".

    It sounds like the article is about what would usually be described as one practice with two sites, not "two practices on different sites".

    In which case, the headline, and opening sentence are wrong: no practice is set to close, but one site of a multi-site practice is.

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  • As long as funding is so unjust and inequitable, where some practices get £500 and others like Sanjeev juneja's less than£100, then the poorly funded practices will close. The NHSE will then pay someone twice as much to reopen, when that would have kept it open in the first place. But as CQC said ' Funding inequalities are not our problem' Right!! But judgement is.

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  • Also a bit confused. There are 10'000 practices in the UK, but about 12000 sites. So 2000 branch sites. However the branch sites are classed within the one "Practice".

    Saw this the other day. Could send them to it ;-)

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