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GPs told £300k refit needed to meet CQC requirements

Exclusive A GP practice has been told by NHS managers its surgery must have a £300,000 refurbishment in order to prepare for CQC inspection.

The practice in Solihull has been told their Monkspath Surgery, which was built in 1985, was non-compliant with infection control rules and must be completely refurbished.

Managers have ordered the GPs at the practice to spend £100,000 of their own money on the refurbishment. The PCT is meeting £200,000 in costs to replace ceilings, remove all carpets and skirting boards from the surgery.

The PCT said it was simply trying to provide a ‘safe environment for patients’, but the CQC has criticised the work as unnecessary, and urged any practice faced with PCT demands to refurbish their premises to contact them.

Dr Simon Green, a partner in the practice, told Pulse: ‘The PCT infection control told us the practice would be non-compliant with CQC Outcome 8 and we needed to remove all the carpets, replace all stippled ceilings, remove all the skirting boards and have heavy duty lino going up the walls to become compliant.

‘There was a big element that if we did this now there would be some PCT grant money, the anxiety was that if we left it we would have to do it in the future and it would cost us considerably more.’

He said that the carpets were in a good condition and he was told by the PCT team that lino flooring was essential to pass CQC inspection.

A statement by Solihull PCT said they carried out infection control audits to ensure practices provide a ‘safe environment for the delivery of primary healthcare for patients’ and to assess whether a grant was needed to support the work.

She said: ‘It is up to the individual practices to develop and implement an action plan in response to those recommendations. We provide advice and guidance.’

When approached by Pulse with details of the case, the CQC said PCTs were wrong to insist on these refurbishments.

A spokesman said: ‘We won’t refuse any registration just because you don’t have modern or state-of-the-art premises. We’ll only take action if patients are being put at risk by unsafe premises.

‘Equally rumours such as carpets and soft furnishings in waiting rooms will have to be removed due to infection issues control are absolutely false. These are matters that are not likely to cause the CQC any concern, or lead to non-compliance with the essential standards of quality and safety.

‘The Commission is aware that some PCTs have been saying this to practices and would encourage any one who has encountered this behaviour pass that information on to the CQC who will advise the PCT their advice is wrong.’

Last month, the CQC said it had issued two closure notices to GP practices stating that the regulator intends to refuse their registration.