New inspection at Four Acre Health Center by the Care Quality Commission

A family doctor’s practice that was placed in special measures due to an inadequate assessment by the care quality commission will have the results of its last inspection published in the new year.

Four Acre Health Center on Burnage Avenue, Clock Face, received the lowest rating from the Care Quality Commission last year.

It was placed under special measures.

The September 2021 inspection ruled that the practice was not safe, effective or well-run.

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It was also rated as needing improvement to be caring and responsive.

Another inspection took place over four days in March this year and, while there were some improvements, the operation was once again found to be failing.

What were the results of the previous inspection?

The overall ranking was insufficient with ratings in the following five key areas.

  • Sure – insufficient
  • Effective – needs improvement
  • Caring – good
  • Responsive – needs improvement
  • Well managed – insufficient

The final inspection included staff surveys via video conference, review of medical records to identify issues, a brief on-site visit, and staff questionnaires.

What the CQC said

In a statement, the CQC said: “We have found the practice insufficient for the provision of safe services. This is because:

“We have identified concerns related to the prescription of controlled medicines that have been re-issued to patients without verification.

“Recruitment was not always in accordance with Schedule 3 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014.

“The provider lacked an overview of the risks related to the premises.

“Not all employees had access to the electronic incident reporting system and the provider could not demonstrate that all incidents reported in the log were investigated and resolved.

“However, the provider had conducted extensive drug reviews of patients who were regularly prescribed repeat drugs.

“We have seen improvement in safeguarding processes and appropriate child safeguarding training for non-clinical staff has been completed.

“Blank prescriptions were kept safe.”

Adding why the health center needed to be improved to provide effective services, the inspectors explained: “The provider has not always been able to demonstrate the competence of some staff members in their role of screening patients.

“Staff had not received appraisals since February 2020.

“We gave the provider a good rating for the provision of care services.

“The provider had made improvements to processes and procedures to improve patient care.”

The rating “Needs improvement for providing responsive services” was given because the “System for managing and responding to complaints has not changed since our last inspection”.

The provider “failed to demonstrate a consistent approach to managing complaints and learning from complaints,” the report added.

The Inadequate rating for providing well-managed services was given because inspectors felt that “it was unclear which roles would assume responsibility for the day-to-day management of the practice”.

The report continued, “The vendor has not addressed all of the concerns identified during our most recent inspection and we identified other issues related to risk management and a lack of oversight of governance arrangements in practice.

The report added that the health center was placed in special measures in September 2021 but “inadequate improvements have been made”.

‘Action Plan’

Following the previous inspection, a statement from St Helens CCG read: “The practice is now developing an action plan which will identify clear milestones to improve the overall score going forward and the CCG is working closely with the practice to ensure that the necessary improvements are addressed .

“This action plan will be monitored regularly over the next few weeks to ensure it is being followed and milestones met.

“The practice rating will remain pending re-examination by the CQC.

“While the inspection’s rating is disappointing and understandably of concern to patients, the CQC gave the practice a ‘good’ rating for providing caring services and it highlighted that the provider had made improvements to processes and procedures to improve patient care to improve.

“It was also highlighted that staff have the skills, knowledge and experience to provide effective care, support and treatment.

“The practice also continues to work with other local practices in their Primary Care Network to provide the Covid-19 booster shots for their patients.”

When will the results of the new inspection be published?

An action plan was drawn up for the operation.

The practice was recently re-examined by the Care Quality Commission, the results of which decide whether special measures are to be taken.

A CQC spokeswoman said: “CQC has conducted an inspection of the service and the report is expected to be released in January.” New inspection at Four Acre Health Center by the Care Quality Commission

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