A surgery in a Harborough district village is being warned that it’s got to urgently improve by healthcare watchdog chiefs.
South Leicestershire Medical Group, based in Kibworth Beauchamp, has been told by Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors that it’s got to do better in four out of five key categories.
The Smeeton Road practice is facing calls to step up its game after being slammed by Cllr Phil King, the leader of Harborough District Council, in the Harborough Mail last month.
Cllr King warned that thousands of fed-up patients in the Kibworth area have been struggling to fix up an appointment with a GP or nurse at the under-pressure medical centre for at least the last two years.
He is now striving to stage a meeting with Harborough MP Neil O’Brien, local NHS bosses, patient leaders and South Leicestershire Medical Practice in a bid to turn the business around.
CQC inspectors ran the rule over the embattled Harborough medical set-up on Thursday April 28 and published their scathing report on Monday (May 30).
The national independent health and social care regulator found that:
• The practice did not always provide care in a way that kept patients safe and protected them from avoidable harm
• Patients did not always receive effective care and treatment that met their needs
• Staff dealt with patients with kindness and respect and involved them in decisions about their care
• Patients were not able to access care and treatment in a timely way
• The way the practice was led and managed did not always promote the delivery of high-quality, person-centre care.
“We found two breaches of regulations,” said the CQC.
“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.”
Inspectors labelled South Leicestershire Medical Group’s overall rating as “requires improvement”.
The CQC’s ratings for each key question are:
• Are services safe - requires improvement
• Are services effective - requires improvement
• Are services caring – good
• Are services responsive to people’s needs - requires improvement
• Are services well-led - requires improvement.
“Our inspection team was led by a CQC lead inspector who spoke with staff using video-conferencing facilities and led a site visit.
“The team included a GP specialist advisor, a nurse specialist adviser and two other CQC inspectors,” says the CQC report.
“The inspection was undertaken with the GP specialist adviser completing clinical searches, records reviews and interviews remotely without visiting the location.”
Cllr King, who lives in Kibworth Beauchamp and is a patient at the practice himself, said: “It gives me no satisfaction to say that many of the issues rated as requires improvement are those which many residents here have been raising for quite some time and prior to the Covid pandemic.
“Serious questions now need answering as to what on earth is going on at this practice - how have they got to this point?
“But most importantly how is the practice and the CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) going to ring the changes, make the crucial improvements to now restore patients’ confidence in this vital service?
“This new CQC report will reinforce the concerns of residents and the community about what they have been experiencing at this practice over the last few years,” said Cllr King.
“It must be a priority to restore patient confidence in this practice and how it operates, given the huge number of patients it serves and lack of other operators to replace them.”
Harborough MP Neil O’Brien told the Mail: “I look forward to meeting with the Clinical Commissioning Group alongside Cllr Phil King to discuss this in further detail.
“I and my team have been in touch with the South Leicestershire Medical Group during the course of the pandemic on the back of some of the emails I have received from constituents,” said Mr O’Brien.
“The pandemic has been incredibly challenging and I know that pressures continued to be felt during the vaccination rollout as well.
“However, as we continue to emerge from the cloud of Covid and return to normal I’m keen to hear more about the current issues being faced and the plans in place to ensure that patients receive the quality of care we all want to see.”
A spokeswoman for Leicester City CCG, West Leicestershire CCG and East Leicestershire and Rutland CCG said they are now stepping up efforts to work with South Leicestershire Medical Group to draw up a blueprint to improve their services now.
“We are, of course, concerned that patients are experiencing difficulties and we continue to be closely involved with South Leicestershire Medical Practice, offering support and guidance in order to make improvements for their patients,” said a spokeswoman for the three joint CCGs.
“Following the publication of the CQC report, our Primary Care Quality Team will be working with the practice to implement an improvement plan - and we will be supporting them to gather additional insight from both staff and patients to assist with these improvements.
“Additionally, we are liaising with MP Neil O’Brien and Cllr King to initiate a meeting with CCG chief executive Andy Williams, members of the South Leicestershire Medical Practice team and patient representatives.”
South Leicestershire Medical Group also has branch surgeries at Fleckney Medical Centre, Great Glen Surgery, Old School Surgery in Kibworth Beauchamp, on Torch Way in Market Harborough and Fleckney Duck Pond Surgery in Fleckney.