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North East GP practice to exit special measures following significant improvements for patients

15 October 2015
Rowlands Gill Medical Centre
  • Media,
  • GP and GP out-of-hours services

England’s Chief Inspector of General Practice has taken a North East GP practice out of special measures following improvements in the quality of its services. It is the second in the country to come out of special measures.

Rowlands Gill Medical Centre in Rowlands Gill, Tyne and Wear was rated Inadequate under the Care Quality Commission's new approach to the inspection of GP practices and was put into special measures in January.

In the latest inspection, a specialist team of inspectors found that the practice had improved in all five key areas. The overall rating for the practice has moved from Inadequate to Good. Inspectors rated the practice Good for being safe, effective caring and well led, and Requires Improvement for being responsive.

Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of General Practice, said:

"It is clear that the Rowlands Gill Medical Centre has made significant improvements since our original inspection when we had serious concerns relating to the safe delivery of services and the leadership of the practice.

"With the support of NHS England and NHS Newcastle Gateshead CCG, the practice has now set out to provide an accessible, safe and clinically effective service, which will improve the experience and outcomes for its patients.

“I am delighted to announce that Rowlands Gill Medical Centre will come out of special measures and I congratulate them on the progress that they have made so far. This achievement clearly demonstrates how special measures can galvanise a practice with everyone pulling together to improve outcomes for patients.”

Sue McMillan, Deputy Chief Inspector of General Practice for the North of England, said:

“When we inspected the practice in September we found improvements had been made across the board. Medicines were being managed effectively, and regular clinical audits were being carried out as routine. There was a strong learning culture at the practice and staff were highly motivated and committed to improving quality of care"

“There is still some work to do and we shall continue to monitor the practice’s performance. I am confident that, if they keep going, Rowlands Gill Medical Centre can set an example that others will follow.”

When CQC inspected the practice in January 2015, inspectors identified ten areas for improvement. The practice was rated Inadequate for being safe, responsive and well-led.

During the latest inspection in September 2015, CQC found significant improvements had been made. There was a clear leadership structure in place and staff felt supported by management. The practice proactively sought feedback from staff and patients, which it acted on. Staff had received appropriate training. They understood their responsibilities to raise concerns and to report incidents and near misses. Information about safety was recorded and acted on.

Inspectors found that patients’ needs were assessed and care was delivered following best practice guidance. Patients said they were treated compassion, dignity and respect and that they were involved in decisions about their treatment.

The practice had also been involved in setting up ‘Rowlands Gill Live at Home’, a volunteer befriending and visiting service for the elderly. At the time of the inspection there were 115 members from within the local community and 45 volunteers. The service helped run events including the annual flu vaccination day where volunteers provided teas and coffees for patients.

CQC has told the practice it must ensure that staff are aware of any necessary action to be taken following the receipt of national safety alerts.


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Last updated:
29 May 2017

Notes to editors

CQC has published a full report about Rowlands Gill Medical Centre.

Under CQC’s new programme of inspections led by Prof Steve Field, Chief Inspector of General Practice, all of England’s GP practices are being inspected and given a rating. Since January 2015, any GP practice that is found to be Inadequate on inspection will automatically be placed into special measures, opening the way to a package of support from NHS England. Within six months, CQC will carry out another comprehensive inspection. If the overall rating remains Inadequate, CQC will begin proceedings to cancel its registration, subject to the usual representations process.

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.