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CQC rates Tyne and Wear GP practice as Inadequate

18 November 2015
  • Public

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

A specialist team of inspectors rated the service provided by Harraton Surgery in Washington, Tyne and Wear as Inadequate for being safe, and well-led, Requires Improvement for being effective and responsive and Good for being caring. 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.

Harraton Surgery was inspected in September 2015 by an inspection team which included a GP specialist advisor, and a practice nurse. A full report of this inspection has been published today.

Inspectors received positive feedback from patients they spoke to during the inspection. Patients said they were treated with compassion and dignity and felt involved in decisions made about their care and treatment. Patients said they were usually able to get an appointment with a GP when they needed one, although some felt they waited too long to be called in for their appointment.

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

Appropriate checks on staff had not been undertaken prior to their employment, and not all staff who acted as chaperones had been subject to Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.

Staffing levels within the administrative and cleaning staff teams were low, and there were significant gaps in the mandatory training that staff were expected to complete. This included fire safety, information governance and safeguarding training.

Staff were not involved in discussions about how to run and develop the practice, or encouraged to identify opportunities to improve the service delivered by the practice.

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

  • The practice must put effective systems in place to manage and monitor the prevention and control of infection.
  • The practice must take action to ensure the fridges used for storing vaccines are fit for purpose and minimum and maximum temperatures are checked.
  • The practice must ensure that there are formal governance arrangements in place, including systems for assessing and monitoring the quality of the service provision.
  • The practice must provide appropriate training for all staff, including training on fire safety, infection control, safeguarding and information governance.
  • The practice must review staffing levels within the administrative and cleaning staff teams to ensure sufficient staff are deployed.

CQC has been working closely with NHS Sunderland 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 Harraton Surgery can rely on getting the high quality care which everyone is entitled to receive from their GP.

“While we received some positive feedback from patients about their care and treatment, we also found some significant areas of concern. 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.

“With the right support, I expect this practice to be transformed. 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 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. These practices will not close.


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Last updated:
29 May 2017

Notes to editors


CQC has published a full report at:


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.