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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Patients forced to use walk-in centre as CQC orders urgent shutdown of GP practice

A practice in Brighton was closed immediately after inspection by the CQC, leaving around 10,000 patients having to use a walk-in centre.

The practice – Goodwood Court Medical Court in the centre of Hove – was closed from yesterday after a recent CQC inspection, with patients receiving no warning according to local media reports.    

The CQC website said that the regulator ‘has taken action against Goodwood Court Medical Centre to protect the safety and welfare of patients’, but said it would not be releasing any further details about the action as the decision ‘is open to challenge by the provider’.

A report in the Argus said the CQC inspection came after it received complaints about the practice from members of the public, but patients had not received any warning about the closure and appointments had to be cancelled at short notice.

The practice has some 9,500 patients on its register and is described on the CQC website as serving a ‘diverse urban population’.

Ruth Rankine, the CQC’s deputy chief inspector of general practice said: ‘‘Where providers are not meeting required standards, we have a range of enforcement powers we can use to protect the health, safety and welfare of people who use this service. 

‘When we propose to take enforcement action, our decision is open to challenge by the provider, and it wouldn’t be appropriate for us to comment further at this stage. In due course we will publish a full report of our inspection, including details of any action we take.’

NHS England said that patients were having to use the local walk-in centre as a result of the closure.

A spokesperson for the local area team told Pulse: ‘Following urgent action by the CQC to close Goodwood Court Medical Centre to protect the safety and welfare of patients, NHS England’s priority is to make sure patients continue to access local GP services.

‘Patients who need to see a GP can attend the Brighton Station Health Centre, which can provide treatment. Patients can also get medical help or advice by calling NHS 111. For immediate, life-threatening emergencies, patients should continue to call 999.’

The spokesperson added that NHS England was taking ‘urgent action’ to guarantee high-quality care in the longer team.

They said: ‘We will be writing to all affected patients imminently to explain the necessary closure of Goodwood Court Medical Centre in order to guarantee patient safety and how they will be able to continue to access local GP services.’

But Dr Russell Brown, chair of East Sussex LMC, said they had not been contacted about the closure.

He added: ‘NHS England needs to ensure that these 10,000 patients have access to GP services – and they need to recognise that local GP services are already under considerable pressure. And so they shouldn’t just assume that local practices will be able to take on those patients, because they won’t they will just get swamped and collapse. The last thing I want to see is dominos happening in Brighton.

‘I’m not entirely sure how the walk-in centre is going to cope. So hopefully there are moves afoot to think of something, but quite what I don’t know.’

This story has been modified since publication - the practice was closed on Wednesday 11 June rather than Thursday 12 June as originally stated, and there are 9,500 patients currently registered with the practice rather than 11,000 as originally taken from details on the CQC website.

Readers' comments (56)

  • Vinci Ho

    Interesting story
    Need more details of the inside story. Editor?

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  • 111 doesnt work, 7 day access doesnt work and now GPs dont work...............................

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  • It is important that the list is not lost. Even if the provider and their compliance with CQC policy demands have been 'unsatisfactory'. The responsible commissioner, whether NHS E, or a delegated CCG, needs to keep this list and identify a new provider.

    This is a situation which may become more common. Sending patients away and locking the doors is not a viable option. There needs to be a system in place for ensuring an interim caretaking situation, and a rapid, replacement if that becomes needed. Would the LMC and CCG be in a position to develop this?

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  • There must be a grave issue here...but what is it? Surely not a sneezing policy or air freshener absent.

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  • Was it not possible to phase the closure over 4-6 weeks giving patients at least that much time to move or look around? Strange hurry- let's see wait and see what the reason was.

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  • walk in centre will deal with acute illnesses and minor ailments. who will look after the chronic illnesses?

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  • It's important for a regulator to flex its muscles occassionally to justify its existance to the public and paymasters.
    Obviously if this was a bank it would be too big to do this to, and a bail out would be needed, with pay rises to the incumbents as the only one who could oversee the improvements.
    Individual GPs however are the right size to squash.

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  • c'mon cqc there are still 8000 practices left !

    you need to shut 4 a day to reach the target of zero practices left by next election.

    what about the walk in centre - why haven't you shut that yet?

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  • In a practice of this size, at any given time, there would be perhaps 50 patients who are in the middle of investigation for significant illness, and 10-20 on the palliative care register. This is not something that 111 or a Walk-in Centre could pick up. These vulnerable patients must be placed at significant risk by this precipitous withdrawal of care? Let's hope CQC have good medicolegal cover lest any of these patients come to harm.

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  • "10,000 patients"

    NHS Choices:
    1 GP
    1 HCA
    1 Phlebotomist

    Hmmm.

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