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‘Inadequate’-rated GP practice brings judicial review claim against CQC

An ‘inadequate’ Newcastle practice with 14,600 patients, which has been put in special measures, is taking the CQC to a judicial review.

The Newcastle Medical Centre which is in a city-centre branch of Boots was placed in special measures last week.

The practice has a high number of students and patients whose first language is not English. The majority of patients are aged 20-29 years old.

The CQC rated the practice inadequate for the well-led and effective categories and said it needed to improve on its responsiveness.

The practice was rated good in the safe and caring categories.

In a statement it said it ‘is disappointed that CQC has currently rated the practice as Inadequate for the key questions of “effective” and “well-led”.

‘Due to the way in which CQC rates practices this automatically leads to a rating of “inadequate” overall and the practice being in special measures.’

It is pursuing a judicial review claim ‘in relation to CQC’s processes adopted during and after the December 2016 inspection and the resultant individual key question ratings, patient group ratings and overall rating that CQC has given’.

The practice said: ‘One of the main areas of challenge is the fact that CQC’s National Quality Assurance Panel (which has not attended the practice themselves nor spoken to staff) downgraded the requires improvement rating which was given by the inspection team (who did actually attend at the practice) to Inadequate, without adequate reasons being given.’

After last month’s follow-up inspection the CQC said the practice should monitor its outcomes against similar services, to improve its effectiveness.

It said that records of significant events ‘did not consistently detail discussion, actions taken and learning to lead improvements’.

The practice was also told it should ‘ensure that accurate notes were always maintained for each patient’.

It has hired a consultant to help it continue improvements.

The CQC noted the practice began work on an action plan after last December’s inspection when it was rated inadequate.

However the inspectors said: ‘The practice’s system for identifying, capturing and managing issues and risks was not effective’.

Alison Holbourn, deputy chief inspector of general practice for the north said: ‘While we appreciate patients were treated with compassion, dignity and respect, we have also found some significant areas of concern, which is why we are placing the practice into special measures – so opening the way to further improvement, and to enable the practice to receive support from NHS England among others.’