Newham GP surgery suspended after patients put ‘at significant risk of harm’
PUBLISHED: 12:00 28 March 2016
A doctor’s surgery has been suspended after inspectors found it had been ignoring important clinical test results for months and had no system in place to keep patients safe.
The Barking Road Medical Centre, in Upton Park, was given a damning review by health regulator the Care Quality Commission, which said the approximately 2,900 patients were “at significant risk of harm”.
In an extraordinary report released on Thursday, but covering inspections made in December, inspectors gave the surgery the lowest possible ranking in four out of five criteria, including safety and effectiveness.
Michele Golden, head of inspection for general practice, said the users of the practice, which was operated by Dr Samuel Ojo Ayodele Olatigbe, were entitled to “high quality” care – but did not receive it.
“During our inspection we found enough areas of concern that our only recourse was to use our regulatory powers and suspend all actions at the surgery,” she said, adding that any action taken is subject to appeal.
Among the report’s findings were that the surgery had no systems in place to keep its patients safe, that important clinical letters – some containing “abnormal” test results – had been left unopened for six months, that incidents were “systematically unreported” and that the practice failed to always learn and improve when things went wrong.
It is also claimed Dr Olatigbe was routinely late for clinical appointments and “had been doing so for months”, a habit that led to staff receiving verbal abuse.
However, the practice had no means of recording or dealing with these episodes, the report stated, which was part of a culture that did not “foster a supportive, learning” environment, while staff were “discouraged from raising concerns”.
The report also states concerns about the practice were raised when the current provider took over in October 2014 but did not register the change until July 2015, an offence under Section 10 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008.
Meanwhile, the practice will now be able to access support from NHS England and the Royal College of General Practice to help it improve.
A spokesperson from NHS Newham Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Unfortunately, following a Care Quality Commission visit to the Barking Road Medical Centre in December 2015, it was jointly agreed to temporarily close the practice. This decision was taken in the best interest of patient safety, to ensure the provision of quality care and least disruption possible.
“The priority for Newham CCG is to ensure continuity and quality care for local residents and while we work closely with providers to help them maintain standards and monitor performance, it is the responsibility of the provider to implement local actions.
“Barking Road Medical Centre is now temporarily closed while we continue to work with the practice as they look to implement local actions to rectify the issues.
“CQC visits are in place to ensure quality standards are maintained. Where concerns are raised we will always put the safety and quality of care of patients at the forefront of any decisions taken.
“All patients from this practice are advised to contact the neighbouring surgery, Newham Medical Centre, should they need a GP appointment, where they are getting care as routine patients. The interim arrangements have meant there were no significant patient appointment cancellations and changes to any hospital referrals or emergency/urgent care.”
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