Patients put at risk by Southampton GP practice struggling with workload, according to the health watchdog

PATIENTS have been put at risk by a Hampshire GP practice which has struggled to cope with an increasing workload, according to the health watchdog. 

Bath Lodge Practice, which is on the first floor of Bitterne Health Centre in Southampton, has been placed into Special Measures following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in October 2016.

CQC inspectors rated the service as overall inadequate and stated that the service needed improvement across the board. 

At the time of the inspection the practice’s staff included five GP partners, however three of them had recently resigned and were working out their notice period. 

Ruth Rankine, deputy chief inspector of general practice CQC’s South region said: “Bath Lodge Practice did not have the strong leadership in place to deliver high quality care which everyone is entitled to receive from their GP practice.

“On the day of inspection, the management in the practice were unable to demonstrate they had the capacity and capability to make measurable and sustainable change to ensure high quality services for patients.

“Patients were at risk of harm because there was insufficient clinical capacity and an inadequate number of appointments available for pre-booking.

“We will continue to monitor this practice and we will inspect again in six months to check whether improvements have been made. If we find that the service remains inadequate, we will consider taking further enforcement action.”

A statement released by the Bath Lodge, on behalf of the surgery’s two remaining GPs, Dr David Jones and Dr Richard Baxter, said that in recent years the surgery has “struggled to cope with the high demand and workload, resulting in a high turnover off staff, including GPs”.

The inspection has identified a number of areas for further improvements including:
• Ensuring adequate arrangements with regard to infection prevention and control.
• Ensuring adequate clinical appointments and related staffing to meet the needs of the practice patient list.
• Ensuring the provision of an appropriate induction programme for all newly appointed staff and training regarding safeguarding, reception triage and infection control.
• Ensuring there is day to day management strategy for the governance of the practice and overall leadership for the delivery of all improvements to promote safe practice, quality improvement, learning and innovation.

The patient list size is currently just under 12,100, however on the NHS choices website only 55 percent of patients would recommend the practice. 

On the website one patient called Martin Hadzi gave Bath Lodge Practice a rating of one star – out of five. 

He wrote: “I’m not someone who visits GP surgeries very often due to usually being fit and healthy but recently I have been due to fracturing a bone in my foot.

“I have not received the best treatment dealing with this GP surgery and it has caused stress and inconvenience that could have easily been avoided.”

The surgery has said they are currently working with the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS England who are monitoring the improvement of the practice where an action plan is in place to deliver these improvements.

A spokesperson from the CCG said: “Whilst the challenges faced by the practice are of great concern, we can reassure members of the public that we will give the practice every support to take the necessary steps to comply with the actions required by CQC.”

[related_post themes="flat" id="141479"]