Forest Gate GP surgery faces closure following ‘inadequate’ rating

Upton Lane Medical Centre. Picture: Ken Mears

Upton Lane Medical Centre. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

A GP surgery in Forest Gate faces closure unless it improves the care offered to its patients within six months.

Upton Lane Medical Centre has been placed in special measures by inspectors following a critical report published yesterday.

The surgery, run by Dr Gauri Shanker, was rated ‘inadequate’ overall, as well as for being safe, effective, caring and well-led.

“It is always disappointing when a practice slips from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘inadequate’, as has happened at Upton Lane Medical Practice,” said Michele Golden from health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC), citing the surgery’s previous rating last year.

She added: “Special measures will give people who use the service the reassurance that the care they get should improve. Services placed in special measures will be inspected again within six months. If there is not enough improvement we may use our enforcement powers.”

Risks to patients were not assessed and well managed, including infection control, legionella, fire safety and equipment, CQC inspectors noted.

The most recent legionella risk assessment was dated May 2016, they said, adding: “staff told us every action to ensure patient safety had been taken but this was not the case and actions in response to a previous legionella risk assessment dated 2011 were insufficient.”

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The visit in March found that the percentage of new patient cancer cases referred using the urgent two week waiting system was “significantly below average”, with patients who were carers “not identified or supported effectively”.

Patients experienced constant difficulty getting through to the service on the phone and booking appointments, and felt detached from decisions about their care. The practice, inspectors added, left them feeling they were not treated with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect.

Recruitment checks on staff took place, although gaps existed in staff training, including safeguarding and mental capacity training for clinical staff, the report said.

The surgery must now improve the safety of care and treatment given to patients, set up “effective” systems of governance and make sure staff receive required levels of support and training.

“The practice is very disappointed to receive this rating from the CQC,” manager Dahlia Gardner told the Recorder.

“We are fully committed to addressing the issues raised, and we are working hard to make the required improvements to ensure that our patients receive the level and quality of care that they deserve.”