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CQC places GP out-of-hours service into special measures

The CQC has placed a GP out-of-hours service covering Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland into special measures after an inspection report concluded the majority of the services provided were ‘inadequate’.

The decision, taken by chief inspector of general practice Professor Steve Field, gives the provider Central Nottinghamshire Clinical Services (CNCS) six months to improve or face losing its CQC registration under the regulator’s tough new inspection regime.

The report found that CNCS, which employs 254 sessional GPs, nurses, health care assistants and support staff to provide out-of-hours care to an area covering a population of close to one million, had:

  • Put patients at risk of harm because systems and process were not in place to keep them safe;
  • Failed to ensure that staff were clear about reporting incidents;
  • Failed to ensure that clinical equipment and medicines were within their use by date;
  • Failed to ensure that emergency patients were seen by a clinician in a timely fashion.

The report said: ‘Specifically, we found the out-of-hours service inadequate for providing safe, effective and responsive services and being well led. It required improvement for providing responsive services.’

In a statement, CNCS said it was ‘concerned’ by the findings and apologised for failing to deliver consistent quality of care, but said it had been working to resolve the issues since the inspection took place in March and had already reduced waiting times and could now meet national targets, as well as implementing medicine and equipment checking processes.

A spokesperson said: ‘We have developed a detailed action plan which addresses with urgency the shortcomings highlighted and can confirm considerable improvements have been made in this short time frame.’

CQC central region deputy chief inspector of general practice Janet Williamson said: ‘We know that Leicester, Leicester City and Rutland out-of-hours has acknowledged the areas where action must be taken.

‘We have found significant areas of concern, which is why we are placing the service into special measures – so opening the way to support from NHS England among others.’

Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland LMC chief executive Dr Chris Hewitt said: ‘While the CQC have concerns about the service provided by CNCS that need to be addressed, this has to be seen in the context of wider issues in the city’s health service.

‘We are 100% behind the CNCS board who we know will embrace the actions coming out of the special measures, and we will encourage GPs to cooperate and support CQC during the months ahead as CNCS works to improve the service and the inspection in six months.’

Since January, GP services found to be inadequate in the CQC inspection report are immediately put in special measures.

Previously a private APMS provider in the north-west of England has had three of its GP practices put into special measures by by the CQC after they were assessed as inadequate. Meanwhile a branch of a GP practice in Gateshead has closed after its premises were deemed inadequate for practise, which led to it being put into special measures.