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ORDER TO IMPROVE: Health centre slammed after inspection

ORDER TO IMPROVE: Health centre slammed after inspection

In its report, it says it found ‘two breaches of regulations'

A health centre in St Helens has been ordered to improve after being slammed following an inspection by an independent regulator.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has given Four Acre Health Centre, on Burnage Avenue, the worst rating possible.

The inspection of the GP practice took place on September 7, with the report published on October 19.

The CQC has rated the practice as ‘inadequate’ overall – and ‘inadequate’ for all population groups.

It was rated ‘inadequate’ in the area of safety, ‘inadequate’ in the area of being effective, ‘requires improvement’ in the area of being caring, ‘requires improvement’ in the area of being responsive and ‘inadequate’ in the area of being ‘well-led’.

As stated in the inspection report, the independent regulator of health and adult social care in England found that some areas identified as ‘requiring improvement’ at its last inspection had not been addressed, issues relating to the required monitoring of patients prescribed certain medicines, medicine reviews did not contain relevant information and required blood tests for some patients were overdue, blank prescriptions were not kept secure and non-clinical staff did not have the appropriate safeguarding training.

It also found ‘leaders did not demonstrate a full understanding’ of how to deliver high quality services throughout the practice, systems did not support learning from information provided to the service – for example audits, incidents and complaints – while there were gaps in systems and processes to assess, monitor, mitigate risks and provide clinical governance, and ‘communication systems and the organisational culture needed to improve’.

However, the regulator found the service had effectively promoted public health initiatives for cervical screening and staff had completed training in several key safety topics, for example, sepsis, fire safety and chaperone training.

In its report, it says it found ‘two breaches of regulations’ – and the provider must ensure care and treatment is provided ‘in a safe way’ to patients, and establish ‘effective systems and processes’ to ensure good governance ‘in accordance with the fundamental standards of care’.

The NHS St Helens Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) says the practice has already addressed immediate concerns and has now developed an action plan which demonstrates clear milestones to improve the overall rating going forward.

A spokesperson added: “The CCG is now working closely with the Four Acre to ensure the recommended areas of development are addressed.

“This action plan will be monitored regularly over the next few weeks to ensure it is followed and milestones achieved. The rating for the practice will remain in place until the CQC re-inspect.

“While the inspection rating is disappointing and understandably worrying for patients, the CQC did find areas of good practice in the population groups, including the practice receiving a Gold Award last year for care provided to people with learning difficulties through offering appointments and reviews.

“It was also highlighted that staff had the skills, knowledge and experience to deliver effective care, support and treatment to their patients.

“The practice had also worked with other local GP practices to deliver Covid-19 vaccinations to their patients.”


Words: Aran Dhillon, Local Democracy Reporter

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