Dear Professor Field,
I am writing this open letter to you because it appears to be the only mechanism available to us to communicate with you or your organisation.
We were rated as needing improvement in your inspection report of June 2015. After it was published, concerns were raised in a variety of quarters.
We raised two complaints directly, the first about the general process of the inspection visit and secondly about the GP who advised the inspection team. These were both upheld but despite the obvious implications for the report you made no amendments to it.
In July 2015 the chief officer of our CCG wrote to you stating that he was ‘surprised by the findings’ in your report. He countered that the CCG had a ‘positive picture of the practice’ and expressed concerns about your report ‘from the perspective of accuracy’.
The chairman of our defunct PPG reviewed the report, he concluded it was ‘misleading’. He wrote ‘frankly, I consider this to be an unbalanced report. It does not do any credit to the CQC and does not benefit patients’. He commented that the report was a ‘rag bag of findings, not clearly distinguishing between matters or major, minor or no concern to patient well-being’. He continued that many parts of the report ‘hardly merit public mention let alone major public criticism’.
Our practice MP, the Rt Hon Stephen Hammond was concerned that patients might not register with us because of your report. He attempted to facilitate a meeting between your London inspectorate and our practice to discuss the issues. The deputy chief inspector PMS for London agreed to meet with Mr Hammond to discuss the report, but point blank refused to attend if I was there.
Having made so little progress through those channels we were luckily able to meet with the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, to discuss your report. In describing us as ‘good guys’ he suggested that even the CQC can make mistakes. Mr Hunt said that if we wrote to him he would raise it with you directly. In September 2015 Mr Hunt confirmed that he had copied our letter to you in anticipation of your responding. We have not yet heard anything from you.
We had a further focused inspection visit in December 2015 and we raised these issues with that inspection team. Some six months later they have just responded, dismissing the comments from the ex-chair of our PPG as being from ‘a single patient’ and stating that they had not been asked to address the issues raised in our letter to Mr Hunt.
Following the December visit you judged us as being inadequate because we have not implemented recommendations from a London CSU’s Infection Control Audit, namely that we should remove our carpets and have handwashing signs at every sink. Your own website confirms we can have carpets and do not need handwashing signs. So you find us inadequate for failing to implement recommendations that you do not yourself support. If we did ever meet perhaps you would be able to explain that conundrum?
Dr Paul Cundy
On behalf of Wimbledon Village Surgery
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