You are here

CQC rate Washington GP inadequate and place it into special measures

10 December 2015
New Washington Medical Group
  • Media,
  • GP and GP out-of-hours services

England’s Chief Inspector of General Practice has rated a Washington GP surgery as Inadequate and placed the practice into Special Measures following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

A specialist team of inspectors rated the service provided by the Victoria Medical Practice as Inadequate for providing services that were safe and well-led, Required Improvement for effectiveness and responsiveness and Good for caring.

CQC had previously inspected the practice in September 2014 when it was found to be in breach of regulations. After that inspection the practice wrote to CQC saying what they would do to meet their legal requirements.

Under CQC’s new programme of inspections, all of England’s GP practices are being inspected and given a rating

The practice was inspected in September 2015 by a CQC Lead Inspector and included a GP specialist advisor and a specialist advisor with experience of GP practice management. A full report of this inspection has been published on the CQC website today.

Patients who described their overall experience as good was at 98%, which was above the local CCG average of 88% and the national average of 85%. All of the patients CQC spoke with were satisfied with the care they received from the practice. They told us staff were friendly and helpful and they received a good service.

However, The Care Quality Commission has identified a number of areas where the provider must make improvements, including:

  • Ensure privacy of patient information.
  • Ensure patients are not at risk - patients were at risk of harm because effective systems and processes were not in place to keep them safe. Areas of concern included; the processes for recording and learning from significant events and patient safety alerts.
  • Ensure appropriate checks are made - disclosure and barring checks (DBS) had not been carried out on staff and the systems in place for the management of medicines were not safe.
  • Ensure that staff receive appropriate appraisal to enable them to carry out their duties.

CQC is working closely with Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS England to support the practice while it addresses the issues identified by the inspection.

Sue McMillan, Deputy Chief Inspector of General Practice said:

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

“It was disappointing that this service had made little or no progress since its last inspection in September 2014.

“I am concerned that the confidentiality of patients was compromised at the reception desk. Personal information discussed by receptionists could be overheard. Another aspect of patient handling was the lack of a complaints policy. The patient information leaflet on complaints did not contain information regarding taking a complaint further than the practice, for example, to NHS England or the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

“I do not believe that the practice is likely to resolve its challenges without external support. This is why we are placing the practice into special measures.

“After a period of six months we will inspect again to check whether sufficient improvements have been made. If we find that the service provided by this practice remains inadequate, we will consider taking steps to cancel its registration with CQC.”

Patients registered with the practices being 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.


For further information please contact CQC Regional Communications Manager David Fryer on 07901 514220.

Journalists wishing to speak to the press office outside of office hours can find out how to contact the team here. Please note: the press office 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 Victoria Medical Practice.

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 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.