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CQC rates Merseyside GP Surgery as Inadequate

6 August 2015
Princes Park Surgery
  • Media

England’s Chief Inspector of General Practice has rated a Liverpool 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 Princes Park Surgery as Inadequate for providing services that were safe, responsive to people’s needs and well-led, and Requires Improvement for providing effective and caring services. The practice was also rated Inadequate in all population groups the surgery provides services for.

Princes Park Surgery, operated by SSP Health Ltd, has been given an overall rating of Inadequate.

Under CQC’s new programme of inspections, led by Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of General Practice, all of England’s GP practices are being inspected and given a rating.

The practice was inspected in April 2015 by an inspection team which included a lead CQC inspector supported by two inspectors, a GP, and a specialist advisor with a practice management background. A full report of this inspection has been published on the CQC website today.

Although inspectors received some positive comments from patients during the inspection who said that they were treated with dignity and respect by staff, inspectors also identified a number of significant concerns.

Staff understood their responsibilities to raise concerns, and to report incidents and near misses. However, reviews and investigations were not thorough and lessons learned were not communicated widely enough to support improvement.

The provider did not deploy sufficient numbers of GPs to meet the demands of patients including in response to their urgent needs. The high usage of locum and agency GPs led to a lack of continuity of care, and increased the risk of patient incidents and complaints occurring.

The practice was not responsive to people’s needs. Patients regularly had to queue outside the practice for it to open to ensure they get an appointment for that day. Many of the people inspectors spoke to stated they had difficulty arranging an appointment over the telephone, and were not always able to access an appointment with their regular GP at a time that they needed.

The systems and processes to address potential risks were not implemented well enough to ensure patients were kept safe. There were no written action plans when incidents and complaints had occurred. This meant that the practice could not monitor the effectiveness of any action taken.

The Care Quality Commission has identified a number of areas for improvement, including:

  • The practice must review the system in place for reporting incidents, including locum and agency GPs, because the method used during inspection was not sufficient in detail to adequately identify risks. Actions following investigations must be shared effectively with all staff in a timely manner.
  • The practice must address the patients concerns about adequate GP cover and continuity of care, and should put measures in place to respond to patient’s urgent needs.
  • The practice must take appropriate action to ensure patient records are accurate and updated at the earliest opportunity, to ensure follow up appointments and hospital visits are supported by the most relevant information.
  • The practice must ensure that GPs complete clinical audits to assess and continually evaluate their practice.
  • The practice must develop an action plan to increase the surgery’s performance for cervical smear uptake.
  • The practice must review the appointment system to ensure there are sufficient numbers of patient appointments to meet the demands of the local population.

CQC is working closely with Liverpool 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 Princes Park Surgery can rely on getting the high quality care which everyone is entitled to receive from their GP.

“Lack of adequate GP cover leading to poor continuity of care for patients who feel they could not be treated at a convenient time, as well as a failure to share learning from incidents are just two of the issues raised in the report. Immediate action must be taken in light of these findings so that people get safe, high-quality primary care.

“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 Officer Mark Humphreys on 0191 233 3519.

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 Princes Park Surgery.

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.