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CQC rates Northumberland GP Surgery as Inadequate

13 August 2015
  • Media,
  • GP and GP out-of-hours services

England's Chief Inspector of General Practice has rated a Cramlington GP Surgery as Inadequate following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

A specialist team of inspectors rated the service provided by Cramlington Medical Group as Inadequate for providing services that were safe, effective and well-led, and Requires Improvement for being responsive to people’s needs and caring. Overall, the practice was found to be inadequate in its services for all population groups.

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 May 2015 by an inspection team which included a GP, a specialist advisor with a practice management background, and a CQC pharmacist inspector.

A full report of this inspection has been published today at:

At the time of the inspection the practice had been going through significant staffing changes, with the absence of the senior GP partner and a series of resignations causing disruption for several weeks. This had impacted on staff morale and the capacity of staff to provide patients with good quality care and treatment.

While patients said they were treated with kindness and respect, inspectors found that people were at risk because systems and processes were not in place to keep them safe.

Appropriate recruitment checks on new locum GPs had not been undertaken prior to their employment and some staff had not completed safeguarding training relevant to their roles.

Inspectors found that systems in place to monitor the safe running of the practice were limited and there was no evidence to demonstrate that clinical staff were carrying out regular clinical audits to assess and improve outcomes for patients.

Concerns were also raised regarding medicines management as arrangements in place for monitoring the expiry dates of emergency medicines and medical gases were not effective, and controlled drugs were not kept fully secure.

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

  • The practice must ensure required pre-employment checks for locum GP staff are carried out.
  • The practice must ensure arrangements are in place to assess, monitor and improve the quality and safety of the services provided.
  • The practice must take action to ensure the safe management of medicines.
  • The practice must evaluate and improve the systems in place for identifying and monitoring patients who are unresponsive to 'recall' telephone contact or letters.
  • The practice must review the availability of appointments to ensure the numbers offered per patient per week are in line with current guidance.
  • The practice must ensure all staff, including the regular locum GPs, have completed all of the relevant training they need to keep patients safe.

Since the CQC's inspection the practice has been managed by a new provider who is currently facilitating the delivery of care and is in the process of registering the additional location with CQC.

CQC is 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 Cramlington Medical Group can rely on getting the high quality care which everyone is entitled to receive from their GP.

"We are aware that the practice was going through a period of upheaval at the time of our inspection, however, our inspectors found some significant areas of concern. Immediate action must be taken in light of these findings to ensure that people get the safe, high-quality primary care that they are entitled to expect.

"We have decided not to place this service into special measures because the provider at the time of inspection is no longer running the practice. A new provider, Northumbria Primary Care Limited, has taken over and has already shown evidence of action taken to address some of the issues identified.

"As with any practice rated Inadequate, we will inspect them again within a short timeframe, 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 ensure the patients receive high quality and safe primary care.”


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 at:

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.  For further information on the requirement for providers to prominently display their CQC ratings, please visit:

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.