CQC tells Thurrock GP to make immediate improvements

Published: 9 February 2024 Page last updated: 9 February 2024

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has dropped the rating for the Balfour Medical Centre from requires improvement to inadequate, following an inspection in July.

This inspection was carried out to follow up regulation breaches CQC found at the Balfour Medical Centre’s last inspection. These previous concerns included poor governance impacting people’s safety.

As well as dropping from requires improvement to inadequate overall, so have the practice’s ratings for safe, effective, and well-led. Its rating has dropped from good to inadequate for responsive. Its rating has dropped from good to requires improvement for caring.

Hazel Roberts, CQC deputy director of operations in the East of England, said:

“When we inspected the Balfour Medical Centre, we were very concerned to find leaders hadn’t fully addressed the safety concerns found at our last inspection and had allowed many issues to worsen. We found many systems to manage people’s health needs were in disarray, and leaders weren’t listening to people’s feedback.

“Inspectors found the practice wasn’t always managing people’s medications safely or monitoring care for people with long-term conditions. They also didn’t always monitor or respond to people’s individual risks.

“We saw negative feedback from some people using the service, who said staff weren’t always kind or approachable. Many told inspectors it was hard to get appointments, and inspectors saw that referrals to other services were often delayed. This was putting people’s health at risk.

“We found leaders weren’t seeking out people’s feedback, nor could they show action they’d taken to address people’s concerns. Staff told us they didn’t feel able to help improve the service either, and we found leaders hadn’t given them additional training when they requested it.

“We’ve told the practice exactly where they need to make improvements and will be watching closely to make sure these are carried out urgently. If we are not assured that people are receiving safe care, we won’t hesitate to take further action.”

Inspectors also found:

  • Staff didn’t always follow up with people who described potentially serious symptoms to make sure they got the care they needed. Following this inspection, the practice told inspectors they’d reviewed care for all people at high risk.
  • When things went wrong, the practice didn’t always take action or learn from this to protect people in future.
  • Staff didn’t always have training they needed to keep people safe, such as in safeguarding.
  • Some staff said they felt stressed due to the high workload, and didn’t always feel supported by leaders. However, staff told us the newly appointed practice manager was approachable.


  • The practice had fixed the premises’ health and safety concerns found at our last inspection. This included improvements to fire risks and electrical testing. 

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.