GP surgery put patients at risk
Unqualified ‘medical assistants’ gave clinical advice
A GP surgery in Peterborough has been rated“inadequate ’’ by a health watchdog which said patients has been placed at risk. Now MP Shailesh Vara has called for an investigation.
Patients were placed at risk by a GP practice which has had a pilot model of care suspended by NHS England. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated the Botolph Bridge Community Health Centre in Sugar Way as ‘inadequate’ after publishing a highly critical report.
The inspection was carried out after the CQC received a significant number of concerns frompatients regarding access to GP sand the continuing care they were offered.
North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara said: “This is completely unacceptable. Patients cannot beputat risk in this way and we need a thorough investigation.
“I am contacting NHS England to ask what they are doing about the situation and also asking them to undertake an immediate investigation into the health centre.
“Serious questions needto be asked and proper answers provided. And it needs to happen ur gently .”
The trial model of care began in September 2015 after the practice had been unable to recruit more permanent GPs.
It saw ‘medical assistants’ speak to patients then go to a GP who would make a judgement based on their notes.
However, 90 per cent of patients did not speak to a GP, and the medical assistants gaveclinical advice to patients and added new medications on their records without being qualified or appropriately trained to do so.
NHS England suspended the pilot model after being contacted by the CQC.
An NHS England spokeswoman said the body had not approved the model.
CQC inspectors made the following judgements:
“Patients were at risk of harm because systems and processes were not in place to keep them safe.”
“Patients were placed at risk because there was insufficient clinical capacity to ensure key tasks were undertaken in a timely manner and by staff who had the appropriate clinical skills to make safe decisions.”
“Delays in reviewing and taking actions on test results received could have put pa- tients’ health and wellbeing at risk.”
Members of the practice’s patient participation group said that patients were not satisfied with the number of GPsavailable andthatthere were significant waits to get through on the telephone.
The practice has one permanent GP for 7,000 patients according to the NHSwebsite.
The Peterborough Telegraph tried three times over the phone to speak to the practice manager.
On one occasion, the person who answered the call said the practice managerhadtold her: “NHS England said we cannot discuss the report at the minute.”
An NHS England spokeswoman told the PT there was nothing to stop the report being discussed.