Doctors in Blackpool have been warned to prepare for stricter quality inspections as it is revealed one in three surgeries across the country are failing to meet standards.
But in the town, although only five surgeries have so far been inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), all have met the required standards.
The surgeries have hit the mark on treating people with respect and involving them in their care, providing care, treatment and support which meets people’s needs, caring for people safely and protecting them from harm, staffing and management, inspectors said.
In fact, only one surgery on the Fylde coast has been found not meeting a standard.
CQC inspectors visited the Belle Vue surgery at West View Health Village in Fleetwood in October. They said it was not caring for people safely and protecting them from harm.
But the visitors found that Belle View met the required standards in all other categories.
The CQC team found that the practice fell down in the category of cleanliness and infection control, and required action to be taken.
Issues of concern included a doctor’s consultation room cluttered with personal items and with dusty surfaces and a stained carpet, along with another dirty carpet in the main corridor.
Two months prior to the visit, the practice had been solely run by one GP, Dr Cobarsanellore Ramesh, supported by a five-strong team.
But at the time of the inspection the running of the practice was in transition and had just been taken over by a larger organisation, the GP-led Coastal Health Care Ltd, operating within Wyre.
Fleetwood-based Dr Mark Spencer, a lead GP with Coastal, said of the report: “We welcome the inspection and the report and we are pleased that six out of seven categories were satisfactory.
“However, we do take very seriously the issue of hygiene and infection control.
“We had only just taken over this practice in April and did not have much time to prepare, but that is no excuse.
“Even before the inspection we had already put a lot of policies in place to improve some areas and have since acted on the recommendations, including clean new flooring. If we were inspected this week, we would meet the standards required.”
However, other Fylde surgeries – the urgent care centres at Whitegate Drive and Blackpool Vic, Bloomfield Medical Centre, Barton Medical Practice and Holland House Surgery at Lytham – have all been successfully inspected.
The CQC has announced that from April next year, inspections will be carried out to ask five key questions around safety, care, responding to people’s needs and leadership.
They will focus on how each surgery and out of hours service looks after its most vulnerable people including those with disabilities and homeless people.
Inspectors will visit each clinical commissioning group (CCG) area every six months to inspect a quarter of practices. All GP surgeries will have been inspected by April 2016.
A spokesman for Blackpool (CCG) said: “The CQC inspection teams have undertaken a number of routine visits since April 2013 in Blackpool including a GP practice, the GP led walk in service and the out of hours provider.
“The CCG is very pleased that each provider has met all the required standards which are available on the CQC website.”
NHS Fylde and Wyre (CCG) is welcoming the CQC inspection changes.
A spokesmen said: “Recognising that the vast majority of GPs deliver very high standards of care, the CCG sees these visits as part of ongoing work with practices to consistently improve the quality of care year on year to our local population.
“Local GPs work hard to improve their patients’ experience of health care and are developing practice-based quality improvement plans specific to their patient needs.”
Up until April, the CQC didn’t inspect GP surgeries. This year the organisation appointed a chief inspector of general practice, Steve Field.
He said: “We need to make sure that everyone, from the most well-off to the most disadvantaged, can get access to really good primary medical care; this is something which I intend to champion as chief inspector.
“When something goes wrong in general practice, it has the potential to affect thousands of local people.”