Surgery labeled as inadequate in an “incredibly damning” report promised to turn the tide.
Serious concerns were discovered at Middlesbrough’s Prospect Surgery during the inspectors’ visit in July.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) did not have the assurance that it was safe, nor did it believe that the surgery offered sufficient standards of cleanliness and hygiene.
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The Watchdog’s 28-page report also criticized how the practice handled risk, high-risk medications and how it missed vaccination targets for young people.
He also revealed that the surgery was unable to show that the staff had the skills, knowledge and experience to do their jobs.
Cllr Denise Rooney told the Health Review Committee on Tuesday the results were “incredibly overwhelming” – adding that she was “genuinely concerned” about the community she served.
Previous inspections by the Cleveland Center cabinet rated it “good” in 2015 and 2017.
Dr Saleem Sabir told the panel that covid changed work habits at surgery – patients not presenting as they normally would.
Problems with staff isolation and sick leave, and difficulties getting training during the pandemic have also hampered efforts, he said.
The CQC investigation found that patients were receiving batch-prescribed medications, such as asthma inhalers and anticoagulant warfarin, through repeated prescriptions that would continue unattended.
This led to the prescription of 32 inhalers to one person over 12 months.
But Dr Sabir added that nurses were now being trained – with additional resources recruited and a pharmacist appointed to help manage medications in the office.
He added: “In terms of other factors, there was a lot of staff involved in the vaccination program (covid) – our doctors and practice nurses spent a lot of time on the program.”
Dr Sabir said the lack of face-to-face meetings during the covid crisis also posed a challenge – but he told advisers these have been brought back every fortnight.
“We have identified areas where we need to improve,” he added.
“The areas where we were deemed to be at risk, we rectified them fairly quickly after the CQC visit – and we have processes in place so that kind of care can progress uninterrupted now.
“We hope this will lead to an improvement in the safety and quality of care expected of us from our patients.”
Asked about the nurses, Dr Sabir said two from the office had left and the nurses were generally “very hard to find”.
But he confirmed that the new staff are currently undergoing training on vaccines and smears.
Cllr Alma Hellaoui grilled leaders on what they lacked outside of covid.
Dr Sabir said there had been problems with high-risk patients and medications that were “beyond their control” in some cases.
However, he believed the systems would prevent people from falling through the net.
Karen Hawkins, of the Tees Valley CCG, told advisers the surgery had a plan in place ahead of a CQC return visit – adding that it had taken “solid action” and a “positive approach.”
“Obviously they have been really disappointed and they have been trying to remedy a number of areas since receiving the report,” she added.
Dr Vaishali Nanda, of the Central Middlesbrough PCN (Primary Care Network), said Prospect’s action plan had shown a commitment to make change.
She added that three additional members of PCN’s pharmacy team offered the surgery additional support to enhance safety.
“I think all the practices can learn from each other here,” said Dr Nanda.
“As the clinical director of the NCP, I can say that we are engaging with Prospect and they are engaging with us. “
Cllr Rooney was reassured that more surgeries would help, but shared her concerns after officials left – adding that she was not confident with the responses she had heard.
The Ayresome MP added: “What was striking was that a number of children were not being immunized routinely – these numbers were falling short of targets.
“And a number of patients with long-term illnesses weren’t getting the help they needed.”
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