Birmingham medical centre placed into special measures and three GPs suspended as 'people at risk'

Great Barr Medical Centre has been placed into special measures by the CQC. Credit: Google Images

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has told Great Barr Medical Centre in Birmingham that it 'must improve services' and has placed it into special measures to protect people.

It follows an inspection in April carried out following concerns received about the quality of care and treatment being provided.

As a result of the inspection, the rating for Great Barr Medical Centre has dropped from requires improvement to inadequate overall, and three GPs have been suspended from carrying out regulated activities.

How safe, effective, and well-led the practice is has dropped from good to inadequate, responsive has dropped from requires improvement to inadequate. Caring has dropped from good to requires improvement.

Due to the level of concerns found, the CQC has suspended the registration of the three GP partnership from being able to carry out regulated activities at the medical centre for six months. 

The CQC said services placed in special measures will be inspected again within six months. Adding, if insufficient improvements have been made, CQC will take further action in line with enforcement procedures, which may include preventing the provider from operating the service.

Andy Brand, CQC deputy director of operations in the midlands, said:

“When CQC visited Great Barr Medical Centre, we found a service that needed to make urgent improvements as it wasn’t providing the level of care that people using its services should be able to expect.

“Poor leadership and inadequate processes were putting people at risk and the GP partners didn’t have the capability to run the practice effectively and drive improvement.

“It was very concerning that there had been delays in actioning urgent tasks and referrals and patients on high-risk medicines weren’t being monitored regularly which could place people at serious risk of harm.

“Patient records were ineffective and not kept up to date meaning staff had no management of people’s health conditions.

“In addition, there was a lack of clinical supervision of staff to check if they were carrying out their roles safely which added to the poor culture throughout the service.

“As a result of these findings, we have placed Great Barr Medical Centre into special measures so it can access the support it needs and focus its attention on where it needs to make the necessary improvements.

“We will continue to monitor this service to keep people safe and expect to see improvements with a re-inspection within six months to check on progress.” 

Inspectors found:

  • The practice didn’t have appropriate systems in place for the safe management of medicines.

  • There was a lack of clinical management of people’s health conditions.

  • The practice was unable to demonstrate effective leadership.

  • Inspectors found no system in place for the acknowledgement and investigation of people’s complaints.

  • The practice didn’t always act on appropriate and accurate information.

  • The practice lacked clear and effective processes for managing risks, issues and performance.

In response to the report, Daren Fradgley, Chief Integration Officer at Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, said: "When the Trust was asked to step in, we were aware of historic quality and safety concerns and patient complaints which we continue to look at as a priority to see how we can help.

"Patient safety remains our focus, as we ensure patients receive the appropriate and necessary care they need.

"Patients registered at the practice are encouraged to continue to attend their appointments and contact the practice as normal, where they will be seen by GPs and clinicians co-ordinated by the Trust so they receive continuity of care.

"We are doing everything we can to keep disruption to a minimum and ensuring high quality and safe care whilst managing the service for an interim period of six months."