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CQC rates Northumberland GP practice as Inadequate

22 January 2015
Widdrington Medical Practitioners
  • Media

England’s Chief Inspector of General Practice has rated a Northumberland GP practice as Inadequate following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

A specialist team of inspectors rated the service provided by Widdrington Medical Practitioners in Northumberland as Inadequate for being safe, and well-led, and Good for being caring, effective and responsive. The practice 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.

Widdrington Medical Practitioners was inspected in October 2014 by an inspection team led by a CQC Lead Inspector, GP advisor, a CQC pharmacy inspector and an Expert by Experience and an additional CQC inspector. A full report of this inspection has been published on the CQC website today.

Most patients told inspectors they were happy with the care they received. Practice staff worked well together and with other healthcare staff, such as district nurses and midwives.

While the inspection team noted that patients could get appointments easily, they were not always with the doctor of their choice.

Although staff understood their responsibilities to raise concerns, reviews and investigations were not sufficiently thorough, and lessons learned were not communicated widely enough to support improvement.

Arrangements to manage medicines, reduce risks of infection and to ensure equipment was working safely were not effective.

The Care Quality Commission has identified four areas for improvement, including:

  • Medicines must be handled appropriately, with management arrangements in line with national guidance and recommendations
  • Systems in place for assessing and monitoring the quality of the service provision must be reviewed and steps taken to ensure that risks are managed appropriately.
  • Arrangements must be made to ensure that medical equipment is regularly checked and medical consumables are in date.
  • Action must be taken to address shortfalls in infection prevention and control to ensure compliance with the ‘Code of Practice for Health and Social Care on the prevention and control of infection and related guidance.

CQC will be working closely with Northumberland 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 Widdrington Medical Practitioners can rely on getting the high quality care which everyone is entitled to receive from their GP.

“Widdrington Medical Practitioners will clearly need to address these issues so that people get safe, high-quality and compassionate primary care.

“We know that Widdrington Medical Practitioners has acknowledged the areas where action must be taken. We will return to check its progress. If in the coming months we don’t see sufficient improvement, we may have to consider a package of further measures to ensure that this practice delivers the care and treatment to a standard that we all expect."


For media enquiries, call David Fryer, Regional Engagement Manager 07901 514220 or the CQC press office on 020 7448 9401 during office hours or out of hours on 07789 876508. For general enquiries, call 03000 61 61 61.

Last updated:
30 May 2017

Notes to editors

CQC has published a full report on Widdrington Medical Practitioners.

This is among the first GP practices to receive a rating following the introduction of our new inspection regime, which features specialist teams including GPs and practice nurses and trained members of the public.

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).

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.