GP patient services under threat amid “poor care” warnings

19 November 2014

GP patient services under threat amid “poor care” warnings

One in six GP surgeries in England ‘at risk of offering patients poor care’

One in six GP surgeries in England is at risk of offering patients poor care after warnings from the NHS care watchdog who have highlighted failings such as the distribution of outdated medicine and appointment booking problems.

According to the Care Quality Commission (CQC), about 1,200 GP practices were highlighted for their poor services and were categorised as potentially putting patients either at “risk” or “elevated risk” through inadequate care.

The regulator underwent a first assessment of all 7,661 GP surgeries in England with a warning at 16% of them (1,200) offer patient care that was of such concern that will be visited and reassessed in the next few months, with a tough new inspection.

The poor ratings highlighted problems such a lack of practice nurses, too few older patients receiving the winter flu jab and difficulty for patients in trying to book a consultation in time.

London emerges as an area of particular concern

Other problems, which have been highlighted in Mistreatment.com case studies with members of the public, included a failure to draw up detailed care plans for those patients with mental health problems as well as patients being given outdated medicines or vaccines.

Mistreatment.com has specialist GP negligence teams which assist members of the public and patients in raising complaints about medical mistreatment that have taken place, whether this concerns wrong medication, misdiagnosis and delay or a failure to refer for timely treatment.

Prof Steve Field, the CQC’s chief inspector of general practice, said he had “concerns” about access to GPs.

“We’re also sadly finding some very poor practices,” said Field, a former chair of the Royal College of GPs. “These typically are chaotic, have very poor leadership and a lack of learning culture. They also have a poor skill mix, some don’t have any nurses.”

The CQC assessed every family doctor practice against 38 risk indicators and then placed the GP surgeries in one of six bandings from one, indicating it has the most concern about the quality of care and safety standards, to six, which signifies the lowest level of perceived concern.

London emerged as an area of particular concern, with a third of surgeries assessed to be in the top two bands. The initial ratings are based on a system the CQC calls “intelligent monitoring”, which uses a range of information, such as surveys, official statistics and patients’ experience.

The watchdog stressed that “the bandings are not judgements; these only happen following inspection”. But it added: “While CQC can only judge the quality of care within a service once it has carried out an inspection, the analysis indicates which services appear to be doing well, alongside where people may not be receiving high-quality and compassionate care.”

Patient Care Options

Have you or a loved one wanted to raise a complaint with the NHS  regarding medical mistreatment that has been experienced or even at a private hospital? Our specialist teams can provide FREE advice about what your options are, whether you want to make a medical negligence claim or medical mistreatment complaint or simply to better understand what your patient rights. You can contact us here today for  a no-obligation and completely free conversation to discuss what happened to you.