You are here

CQC places Peterborough Out-of-Hours service into Special Measures

4 February 2016
Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust Out of Hours Services at City Care Centre
  • Media,
  • GP and GP out-of-hours services

England’s Chief Inspector of General Practice has placed a Cambridgeshire out-of-hours service into special measures following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

CQC inspectors found the out-of-hours service provided by Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust in Peterborough to be Inadequate following the inspection in November.

A full report of the inspection has been published today.

The out-of-hours service provides urgent medical care outside of normal GP hours to a population of 188,000 people. The provider employs GPs, nurses, healthcare assistants and support staff based at the City Care Centre in Peterborough.

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

Inspectors found the service inadequate for being safe, effective and well led. It was rated Good for providing caring services.

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

  • The service used nurses to triage patients by telephone before referring patients to a GP, advanced nurse practitioner or emergency care practitioner. But the nurses did not have access to adequate guidance and there was no evidence that they had been properly trained to deal with these calls. 
  • Staff files and recruitment procedures were not documented or governed thoroughly. A review of staff files demonstrated that staff were not always recruited in accordance with the trust policy and various information was either incomplete or missing.
  • Inspectors were concerned that patients did not always receive effective and timely care and treatment. Response times for calls back to patients varied. Even though the service was not always meeting national requirements, there was no clear vision for improvement.

CQC shared its concerns with key stakeholders including Trust Development Authority, NHS England and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG and the trust submitted an action plan which seeks to address the issues raised by the inspection team.

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

"We found that patients were at risk because systems were not always in place to keep them safe. The provider must ensure that all staff who triage patients have been adequately trained to make clinical decisions by telephone and have been assessed.

“The service must ensure that the time patients wait for thorough clinical assessment is properly monitored to ensure patient care does not suffer. There must be enough staff on site to keep people safe.

“Clear arrangements must be put in place to ensure that managers have effective oversight of the performance of the out-of-hours service at all times so that they can take appropriate action to minimise the risks to patients.

“It is important that the people who use the GP out-of-hours service for Peterborough and surrounding area can rely on getting the high quality care which everyone is entitled to.

"We will continue to monitor this service and we will inspect again in six months to check whether improvements have been made. I hope that the service will take the necessary steps, but if we find that the service remains inadequate, we will consider taking further action.”

Dr Neil Modha, Chief Clinical Officer, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG said: “The CCG has worked closely with CCS since the inspection to ensure implementation of their recovery plan and we have been pleased with the progress and improvements in areas where quality of care were of concern. We will continue to monitor this progress so we can be assured that patients are receiving the high standard of out-of-hours care that we expect.”


For media enquiries, call Regional Engagement Manager, Louise Grifferty on 07717 42917. 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

Patients registered with practices and out-of-hours services 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 and out-of-ours services while improvements are being made. This does not mean that these services will lose.

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 upcoming requirement for providers to prominently display their 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.