You are here

CQC rate Whitehaven GP inadequate and place it into special measures

8 October 2015
Lowther Medical Centre
  • Media

England’s Chief Inspector of General Practice has rated a Whitehaven 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 Lowther Medical Centre as Inadequate for providing services that were safe, effective, responsive to people’s needs and well-led, and Good for providing caring services.

Under CQC’s new programme of inspections, all of England’s GP practices are being inspected and given a rating. Overall, the Lowther Medical Centre has been rated as Inadequate and placed in special measures.

The practice was inspected in August 2015 by an inspection team which included a lead CQC inspector supported by a GP and an expert by experience.  A full report of this inspection has been published on the CQC website today.

Many patients were positive about their interactions with staff and said they were treated with compassion and dignity they also said they felt involved in decisions made about their care and treatment.

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

  • Take action to ensure care and treatment is provided in a safe way for service users through the proper and safe management of medicines
  • Put effective systems in place to manage and monitor the prevention and control of infection. This must include putting in place and adhering to policies that will help to prevent and control infections.
  • Put in place systems or processes which must be established and operated effectively in order to demonstrate good governance.
  • Ensure that staff receive appropriate support, training, professional development, supervision and appraisal to enable them to carry out the duties they are employed to do.

CQC is working closely with Cumbria 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 Lowther Medical Centre can rely on getting the high quality care which everyone is entitled to receive from their GP.

“Our areas of concern included appropriate checks on staff in that they had not been undertaken prior to their employment. Inspectors also identified concerns with infection control. In addition, the systems in place for the management of medicines were not safe.

“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 the Lowther 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 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.