You are here

CQC places Oulton Medical Centre into Special Measures

23 April 2015
Oulton Medical Centre
  • Media

England’s Chief Inspector of General Practice has placed a Suffolk GP practice into special measures following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

The Care Quality Commission has found the quality of care at Oulton Medical Centre in Meadow Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk, to be Inadequate following an inspection carried out in March 2015. A full report of the inspection has been published today.

Oulton Medical Centre provides a range of primary medical services to approximately 5,300 registered patients living in Oulton and the surrounding villages.

Under CQC’s new programme of inspections, all of England’s GP practices are being given a rating according to whether they are safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led.

Inspectors found that while Oulton Medical Centre staff offered a caring and supportive service, the leadership and management structure of the practice was not clear and there were no effective governance processes in place. The majority of staff reported feeling unsupported and had not received an induction or training to undertake their role effectively or an appraisal.

The report highlights a number of areas where improvements must be made including:

  • Implement effective systems for the management of risks to patients and unsafe care. This should include arrangements for managing significant events, safety alerts, health and safety, fire safety and staff safety.
  • Ensure that robust arrangements are in place for the effective recruitment of staff.
  • Ensure that processes are in place for sharing the learning from significant events and complaints with all staff.
  • Ensure that there is an appropriate standard of cleanliness at the practice, with documented checks of the cleaning undertaken. Infection control audits need to be undertaken, with actions identified and completed. Actions from the legionella risk assessment must also be implemented.
  • Ensure that effective information governance processes are in place. This includes ensuring that that all patient correspondence is reviewed by a GP and actioned in a timely way and that clinical coding of patients is accurate.
  • Ensure that records relating to the undertaking of the regulated activity can be located promptly when required. This includes training records, clinical meetings and infection control audits.
  • Ensure that staff are supported, with inductions implemented for new staff and appropriate training and appraisals completed by all staff.
  • Ensure there are sufficient numbers of clinical staff when the surgery is open for patients to attend.

CQC is working closely with NHS England and NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group to support the practice, which is provided by Oulton Medical Practice, while it addresses the issues identified by the inspection.

Janet Williamson, Deputy Chief Inspector of General Practice and Dentistry in CQC’s Central region said:

“It is important that the people who are registered with Oulton Medical Centre rely on getting the high quality care which everyone is entitled to receive from their GP.

"Although the patients we met told us they were treated with dignity and respect, we also found that care and treatment was not always delivered in line with best practice.

“We know that Oulton Medical Centre has acknowledged the areas where action must be taken. We have found significant areas of concern, which is why we are placing the practice into special measures - so opening the way to support from NHS England among others.

“We will continue to monitor this practice and we will inspect again in six months to check whether improvements have been made. I am hopeful that the practice will do what is required for the sake of its patients, but if we find that the service remains inadequate, we will consider taking further action.”


For media enquiries, call Regional Engagement Officer, Helen Gildersleeve on 0191 233 3379. For media enquiries about the Care Quality Commission, please call the press office on 020 7448 9401 during office hours. Journalists wishing to speak to the press office outside of office hours can find out how to contact the team here (please note: the duty press officer is unable to advise members of the public on health or social care matters). For general enquiries, please call 03000 61 61 61.

Last updated:
29 May 2017

Notes to editors

CQC has published a full report about Oulton Medical Centre.

Patients registered with practices which are placed into special measures should be aware that the package of support being offered by NHS England and the Royal College of GPs will ensure that there are no immediate risks to patient safety at these GP practices whilst improvements are being made. This does not mean that these practices will close.

To get to the heart of people’s experiences of care, we always ask the following five questions of services.

  • Are they safe?
  • Are they effective?
  • Are they caring?
  • Are they responsive to people’s needs?
  • Are they well-led?

For every NHS GP practice we will look at the quality of care for the following six population groups: Older people, People with long-term conditions, Families, children and young people, Working age people (including those recently retired and students),People whose circumstances may make them vulnerable, People experiencing poor mental health (including people with dementia).

Since 1 April, providers have been required to display their ratings on their premises and on their websites so that the public can see their rating quickly and easily. Further information on the display of CQC ratings.

About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.