You are here

Bracknell Urgent Care Centre: A case study in improvement

Bracknell Urgent Care Centre
  • Organisations we regulate

Bracknell Urgent Care Centre provides a nurse-led, walk-in ‘see and treat’ service for people who live, work or are visiting Bracknell and surrounding areas

It is one of 12 GP practices and urgent care centres managed and operated by One Medicare Ltd.

In August 2015 we undertook a focused inspection to respond to concerns about the service. As a result, we imposed urgent conditions and issued a warning notice and a requirement notice. We followed up these concerns with a comprehensive inspection in October 2015. Although we were able to remove the urgent conditions because the service had made improvements, we rated it as requires improvement overall, with a rating of inadequate for being well led.

After a further follow up inspection in April 2016, we gave an overall rating of good.

Improvement: from October 2015 to April 2016

Medicines management

What we found in October 2015

  • Some shifts were covered by non-prescribing nurses so the GP on duty had to authorise all prescriptions and medicines administered. This delayed treatment for patients and extended the time that other patients waited to be seen.
  • Policies and procedures for checking medicines were not implemented consistently and the staff we spoke with were unclear who was responsible for doing the checks.
  • There was no evidence that anybody checked the competency of staff to administer medicines and no records of training in administering medicines.
  • Two medicines in the medicines cupboard were out of date.

What we found in April 2016

  • Arrangements for medicines management deemed as safe (including obtaining, prescribing, recording, handling, storing and security).
  • Audits of medicines now ensure that prescribing is in line with best practice guidelines for safe prescribing.
  • Prescription pads are stored securely and there are systems to monitor their use.
  • The service has adopted Patient Group Directions (PGDs) to allow nurses to administer medicines in line with legislation. (PGDs are written instructions for supplying or administering medicines to groups of patients who may not be individually identified before presentation for treatment).

Better governance

What we found in October 2015

  • There was no robust system to identify, assess and manage risk.
  • Governance arrangements had not identified that the lack of sustained local leadership had left staff at the service feeling unsupported.
  • There was no response to concerns from staff about bullying and discrimination.
  • There was a lack of support from senior management, with no lead nurse or regional medical director and a newly-appointed business manager, which resulted in staff feeling remote and at risk.

What we found in April 2016

  • An overarching governance framework has helped to implement the strategy and therefore deliver good quality care. This includes arrangements to monitor and improve quality and identify risk.
  • A fully engaged management team with CQC’s inspection process. They presented documents during the inspection to show action plans, including a working document, which was updated regularly, that assigned different actions to key members of staff.
  • The service asked for feedback from staff and patients and acted on it.
  • An awareness of, and compliance with, the requirements of the duty of candour and encouraged a culture of openness and honesty.
  • There are systems to ensure that notifiable safety incidents are shared with staff, to enable them to take appropriate action.

Staff training and support

What we found in October 2015

  • Patients were at risk of harm because there were insufficient or inappropriately skilled staff on duty to carry out a robust assessment of their needs. This meant that patients were not being assessed and treated quickly enough.
  • Staff received inconsistent support and training, some reported that they felt bullied, harassed and discriminated against.
  • Limited recognition of the benefits of staff appraisal and little support for any additional training.
  • Staff were afraid to report incidents and concerns for fear of reprisal.
  • Local managers did not have authority to deploy enough staff, or with appropriate experience, to deliver care to patients in a safe and responsive way.

What we found in April 2016

  • An effective system for reporting and recording significant events. Lessons were learned, action points were communicated with staff and most staff we spoke with could recall learning from recent significant events.
  • A clear leadership structure, with staff feeling supported by management. The centre has a number of service-specific policies and procedures to govern activity and holds regular governance meetings.
  • Staff and patients are asked to give feedback, and this is acted on. There was a patient participation group, a ‘you said, we did’ patient feedback board and increased engagement with Healthwatch Bracknell Forest.
  • Engagement with staff was constructive and staff satisfaction was high.
  • The service could demonstrate how it ensured that training for staff was specific to their role and was updated as appropriate.

From ineffective to good clinical auditing

What we found in October 2015

  • Minimal monitoring to identify areas for improvement, for example, a limited number of completed clinical audits.
  • Little assurance to confirm that improvements were made to ensure necessary action to improve outcomes for patients.

What we found in April 2016

  • Clinical audit cycles in place, including self-audit.
  • Recent audit completed for infection control, sepsis, x-ray, prescribing and needlestick safety.
  • Findings were used to improve services and patient outcomes; for example, a review of antimicrobial prescribing habits ensured that staff adhered to prescribing guidelines and clinical governance.

What they said:

John Trevains, Associate Director of Nursing for NHS England (South Central), said:

“These inspections are about ensuring that every patient receives consistently high quality care and Bracknell Urgent Care Centre has demonstrated that they are delivering a good service for patients.

“The process of special measures has been an opportunity for Bracknell Urgent Care Centre to focus on where improvements were needed and to make changes quickly, with the support of NHS England, Bracknell and Ascot Clinical Commissioning Group and their patient participation group. This is a great achievement for both the staff and their patients.”

Ruth Rankine, Deputy Chief Inspector of General Practice for the South of England, said:

“When we inspected the practice in April 2016 we found improvements had been made in all areas. There was an open and transparent approach to reporting significant events and the practice was developing a strong learning culture.

“Progress had also been made to strengthen governance arrangements, however, further work is needed in this area to fully embed the changes and make better use of patient feedback to drive continued improvements”

Feedback from patients:

There was no negative feedback from 44 patients (39 written and five verbal) who responded. Two of the five patients we spoke with on the day of inspection were complimentary about the speed of the service.


Last updated:
25 October 2016


Help us improve this page