Two Hucknall GP practices could be ‘putting patients at risk’, says health watchdog

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Two of Hucknall’s three medical practices could be placing patients at risk of harm - according to new figures released today (Tuesday 18th November) by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The commission, which is the independent regulator of all health and social care services in England, has produced the Ofsted-style league table to allow patients to check the quality of care on offer from GP practices.

The health watchdog has ranked 7,276 practices out of the total 7,661 in England, and revealed 861 practices are showing “highest concern” (Band 1) while a further 336 nationally are in Band 2, where significant concern is also acknowledged.

Both the Oakenhall Medical Practice, in Bolsover Street, and the Om Surgery, in Watnall Road were both placed in Band 1 in the new league tables.

The town’s other GP practice - Torkard Hill Medical Centre - was placed in Band 6, along with the other 3,797 practices nationally to raise the lowest amount of concern, according to the watchdog.

Inspectors said that the Oakendale practice presented an ‘elevated risk’ because too few patients who suffer from schizophrenia and other mental health conditions had a documented care plan in place.

The practice’s treatment of patients with hypertension and diabetes also caused inspectors significant concern.

Separate risks were also recorded in other areas of the practice’s care of people suffering with diabetes and mental illness.

The Om surgery came under fire for over-prescribing antibiotic medication and for elements of its treatment of patients with diabetes.

All other surgeries around the Bulwell area were rated as either Band 5 or Band 6.

Around the East Midlands, 48 practices were put in the ‘highest concern’ Band 1, with a further 28 practices placed in Band 2.

A total of 24 practices in the region were placed in Band 3, 43 in Band 4 and 82 in Band 5. A total of 345 practices were placed in Band 6 - presenting the lowest risk to patients.

Nationally, the health regulator said that too many patients were having to endure “chaotic” and potentially unsafe care, while others struggled to obtain an appointment to see a doctor at all.

Every practice was analysed against 38 indicators including the likelihood of being able to arrange an appointment, the proportion of elderly patients receiving the flu vaccine and support offered to the physically and mentally ill.

Prof Steve Field from the CQC said: “It is important to remember that the data is not a judgement, as it is only when we inspect we can determine if a practice provides safe, high-quality and compassionate care. The data is a further tool that will help us to decide where to inspect and when.

“I do have concerns about access to practices. But we need to do more to encourage people to take better care of themselves and to make better use of pharmacies.

“We’re also sadly finding some very poor practices. 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.”