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CQC rates South London GP as Inadequate

15 October 2015
The Westwood Surgery
  • Media,
  • GP and GP out-of-hours services

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated the Westwood Surgery in Bexley, South London, as Inadequate and has placed the provider into special measures following an inspection in July

Placement into special measures means that the provider must now make necessary improvements or face further action, which could result in the closure of the practice.

Under CQC’s new programme of inspections, all primary medical services in England are being given a rating according to whether they are safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led.

During the inspection process, CQC found the provider was failing to provide care which was safe, effective and well-led, and was rated Inadequate across these areas. The provider was rated as Requires Improvement for providing responsive services and was rated as Good for the provision of caring services.

A full report from the inspection has been published today.

The Westwood Surgery is a GP training practice with a branch practice, the Pickford Surgery, which was visited as part of the recent inspection. The two surgeries operate on a rotational basis, with staff working across both sites. The practices provide a general practice service to around 8,400 patients within the London Borough of Bexley.

Patients said they found it easy to make an appointment with a named GP and that there was continuity of care, with urgent appointments available the same day.

The practice also proactively sought feedback from staff and patients, which was acted upon.

However, CQC found that staff did not assess, monitor or manage the risks to people accessing services. Over 1200 documents consisting of patient related letters from hospitals and other third parties had not been actioned, with some dating back to October 2014, presenting a high level of risk to patients.

One of the GP partners had recruited a non-clinical member of staff to assist them with handling their patient related letters. Appropriate recruitment checks had not been carried out and the staff member regularly made clinical decisions despite not being appropriately qualified to do so. Practice staff were aware of this arrangement but had failed to recognise the associated risk.

Staff understood their responsibilities to raise concerns, and report incidents and near misses, however there was little evidence that learning from events was shared with all relevant staff in order to improve safety.

Ursula Gallagher, Deputy Chief Inspector of General Practice in London:

“Patient feedback about the Westwood Surgery was generally positive, so it is disappointing that during our most recent inspection we found that the practice was failing to identify and manage risks to patients appropriately. It is unacceptable that such a high volume of patient letters were not actioned over several months and for non-clinical staff to be involved in making clinical decisions.

“It is essential that the surgery takes urgent action to address these concerns for the sake of their patients and so that they can provide the quality of care that we are confident they can achieve.

"When we are faced with a provider that is failing to care for patients properly, our first instinct is to work with them to ensure that patient care improves.

“We will re-inspect within six months to check whether sufficient improvements have been made. If sufficient improvements have not been made and there remains a rating of inadequate for any key question or overall, we will take further action which may involve closure.”


For further information please contact Yetunde Akintewe, CQC Regional Engagement Manager, on 07471 020 659. For media enquiries, 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. For general enquiries, please call 03000 61 61 61.

Last updated:
29 May 2017

Notes to editors

CQC has published a full report about Westwood Surgery.

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.