A MEDICAL centre in Somerset has been placed in special measures following an inspection in the summer that rated it ‘inadequate’.

The Care Quality Commisson (CQC) carried out an inspection of Burnham & Berrow Medical Centre on July 28 and August 1.

The centre was inspected to follow up on breaches of regulation found at a previous inspection in August 2021.

The practice has been rated ‘inadequate’ for being safe, effective, responsive to people’s needs and well-led. It was rated ‘requires improvement’ for being caring.

The CQC has imposed urgent conditions on the practice and will return within six months of the summer inspection.

An action plan has been agreed between NHS Somerset, its GP partners and the CQC. Enforcement action has been taken by the NHS to ensure safe and effective care.

Somerset County Gazette: The practice has been placed in special measures after being rated ‘inadequate’.The practice has been placed in special measures after being rated ‘inadequate’. (Image: Pixabay)

Neil Cox, CQC head of inspection, said: “Our inspection found standards of care at Burnham & Berrow Medical Centre were well below those people have a right to expect due to a lack of effective leadership.

“The systems in place at the practice were not embedded enough to make sure people were safe and safeguarded from abuse.

“Neither could the practice leadership team demonstrate that they had the capacity and skills to deliver high quality sustainable care. 

“It was difficult for people to access appointments and treatment, and there were delays in receiving their test results.

“Our priority is to keep people safe, and the practice knows what it must do to improve.

“To help them with this, local stakeholders such as Somerset Integrated Care Board are currently in the practice providing support and leadership.

“We will closely monitor the practice and reinspect them again in the coming months to assess whether the practice is compliant with its legal obligations, and to ensure a safe and high-quality service is being provided to all patients.”

Dr Bernie Marden, chief medical officer for NHS Somerset, said: “NHS Somerset has been working intensively with GP partners and the Burnham and Berrow practice team to address the significant problems that the CQC has identified.

“The practice has an action plan, agreed with us and the CQC, to make the required improvements as quickly as possible.

“We are meeting regularly with the practice to make sure the necessary changes are made.

“NHS Somerset has also taken contractual enforcement action to ensure that care for patients at the practice is safe and effective.

“Alongside this, a range of help has been offered to, and accepted by, the practice.

“In the short time this support has been in place we are seeing some improvements. A new system has been introduced to reduce the backlog of documents and correspondence, and a recall of patients with long term conditions requiring review has started.

“Those patients concerned are being contacted directly and asked to attend a consultation, blood test, or being offered a telephone review.

“We can assure patients that their safety is of paramount importance and patients should continue to contact the practice for their healthcare need in the normal way.

“The practice team have worked hard over the past few months to introduce better processes to care for patients, but it will take time to make all the changes needed.”

All patients have received a letter about the challenges and developments at the practice.

A helpline has been established to help patients who have any questions or concerns.

The number is 0300 303 6409 and the line is open between 10am and 6pm, Monday to Friday.

What were the report's findings?

The CQC inspectors' report outlines the findings of the inspection carried out in July and August.

The report says that staff members “did not always treat patients with kindness, respect and compassion” and patient feedback about staff treatment was “mixed”.

The practice was unable to show that all staff had the skills, knowledge and experience needed to carry out their roles.

Inspectors found that the practice did not have a system to learn and make improvements when things went wrong. 

Their report also says there were not effective systems for the appropriate and safe use of medicines.

It also says that the practice's services did not always meet patients' needs, and they could not always access care and treatment in a timely way.

To read the CQC report in full, visit www.cqc.org.uk/location/1-581874322.