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‘Inadequate’ GP practice avoids CQC deregistration by appealing to tribunal

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Exclusive A 2,000-patient GP practice in Nottingham has avoided deregistration after taking the CQC to tribunal, Pulse has learned.

The CQC threatened to close the Mapperley Park Medical Centre earlier this year, following three years in special measures. But following the practice’s appeal to the Health and Social Care first tier tribunal, the CQC agreed to a last-minute reinspection.

After the inspection in July, the CQC upgraded the practice’s rating from ‘inadequate’ to requires improvement’, saving the practice from closure.

The CQC declined to provide data the number of times it has been taken to tribunal by a GP practice but confirmed to Pulse it was ‘very rare’.

The single-hander GMS practice, run by GP partner Dr Mark Stevens, was first placed in special measures in March 2015 before its registration was suspended for three months in September 2016.

After the service was still found be inadequate after two more inspections the CQC began ‘the process of preventing the provider from operating the service’ in November 2017.

But the report said: ‘The provider appealed against this action to the Health and Social Care first tier tribunal.’

It added that after further inspection in July 2018 ‘and prior to the scheduled tribunal hearing a consent order was made by the tribunal which stated that the hearing… would be vacated and the provider’s appeal was allowed on the agreement of conditions being added to their registration’.

Under the conditions, the practice was asked to hire a practice manager to look after ‘day to day operations’.

The July 2018 inspection found improvements to systems dealing with significant events and to systems relating to safeguarding, resulting in an improved rating of ‘requires improvement’.

However, the inspection also revealed that ‘there was still not an effective system to manage the summarisation of patient records’, with ‘over 150 [patient records] which were recorded as not having been summarised’.

The report said: ‘Although improvements have been made there remains a rating of inadequate for providing a safe service. Therefore, the practice will remain in special measures.’

According to the latest inspection report, the practice will remain in special measures after receiving a rating of ‘inadequate’ for safe service.

The CQC’s chief inspector of general practice Professor Steve Field said that although the CQC had begun ‘the process of cancelling the provider’s registration… it was very positive to see that, on our last inspection, improvements had been made’.

He said: ‘While we have seen improvements at the practice, there is still much work to be done and we feel Dr Mark Stevens, Mapperley Park Medical Practice, needs to retain the support of being in special measures to ensure those improvements are made.’

Dr Stevens said: ‘We are pleased our CQC rating has been upgraded. This is good news for our patients, carers and staff and demonstrates our commitment to delivering high quality care which our communities expect and deserve.’

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