Inadequate CQC rating for Yorkshire GP surgery as councillors left 'appalled' by report

Staff at an inadequate GP surgery have been left “shattered” by a damning inspection report exposing its failings, a public meeting has been told.

Stuart Road surgery
Stuart Road surgery

Stuart Road Surgery in Pontefract was placed in special measures by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) last month.

The CQC’s findings detailed how some patients did not receive the care and treatment they needed and records were incomplete.

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Councillor Betty Rhodes, the chair of Wakefield’s health scrutiny committee, said she was “appalled” by the report, which the committee discussed on Thursday (Jun 24).

Local NHS bosses said they were offering support to the surgery and they were confident that the service would be turned around.

They told the committee that the departure of a doctor through illness and a shortness of staff had contributed significantly to the problems.

They also said that issues such as fire safety and a correspondence backlog, which had also been raised by the CQC, had been fixed.

But committee members questioned why the surgery had failed in the first place and why.

Councillor Charlie Keith said: “This has been left until it’s become an emergency. Now we’re putting a sticking plaster on something that needs major surgery.

“The reason this surgery isn’t fit isn’t because no-one knew how to run a fire drill. It’s because people were queuing up to see a doctor who’d left and there was no-one left running the store. Nobody rang a bell to say, “This is going on”. When it could have been solved, it wasn’t.”

Dr Greg Connor, clinical advisor at Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said Coun Keith’s comments raised “legitimate concerns”.

He said that a new GP had been recruited since the CQC’s inspection, along with a practice manager and an advanced nursing practitioner.

Dr Connor said: “They are the backbone of the service now. Am I confident that in six months time it will be better? My view is, yes I am. If anything is not on track then we’ll be on top of it.

“We won’t wait 28 days to see if the wheels come off. If we find something that’s a problem we’ll fix it or we’ll escalate it.”

The CQC’s report described how employees at the surgery, which serves around 9,000 people in Pontefract, suffered from low morale and high workloads.

Dr Connor added: “The staff are shattered by this report. A GP who’s been there for 30 years is shattered by this. He feels his reputation is on the line. So we are on the ground and we are offering support.

Coun Rhodes said: “We should be very concerned about the staff. But people have a responsibility in their employment to make sure that standards are kept. I have to say they’ve fallen quite far below those, compared to what I’ve seen in quite a long time.”