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Practice put in CQC special measures closes

A GP practice in Liverpool has become the first to be closed by the CQC after having been through the ‘special measures’ regime. 

The regulator has announced that it will cancel the registration of the Dharmana’s Family and General Practice in Walton, Liverpool after it failed to make the required improvements within six months of its initial rating, and was again rated Inadequate.

NHS Liverpool CCG has taken steps to ensure the practices 2,400 patients have support in finding alternative GP provision.

Although other practices have had their registrations cancelled, including one who took the CQC to a tribunal in a failed effort to overturn the decision, the Dharmana Family and General Practice is the first to be closed after going through the CQC’s regime.

The practice was re-inspected in July, after six months in special measures, but inspectors did not find evidence of improvements in managing medication errors, and found there were still delays responding to hospital letters and staff still lacked training in key areas such as immunisations and vaccinations.

The inspection also raised issue with the premises being in ‘a poor state of repair’ and a lack of evidence that legionella testing and infection control measures were in place.

The CQC’s deputy chief inspector of general practice, Sue McMillan, said: ‘It is extremely disappointing that the practice has not made the required improvements and is still not providing care of an acceptable standard. The people who rely on this practice deserve better.

‘Following our latest inspection Dr Dharmana has decided to close the practice voluntarily. In the meantime, NHS England and NHS Liverpool CCG continue to support the practice and are arranging the transfer of patients to alternative GP services in the local area.’

Practices rated inadequate can be immediately placed into special measures by the CQC.

They then have six months to turn their fortunes around with access to a support package developed by the RCGP and NHS England – though Pulse revealed practices have to pay for the privilege of support.