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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.’