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GP surgery taking special measures rating ‘very seriously’

Walton Surgery, in High Street, Felixstowe, has been rated 'inadequate' by the CQC  Picture: JAMES FLETCHER

Walton Surgery, in High Street, Felixstowe, has been rated 'inadequate' by the CQC Picture: JAMES FLETCHER

Picture:James Fletcher

A Suffolk GP surgery with thousands of patients on its register is now in special measures after health inspectors raised concerns about safety and leadership.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) recently visited Walton Surgery in High Street, Felixstowe, and rated it ‘inadequate’ overall.

In a report published this week, chief inspector of general practice Professor Steve Field announced his intention to place the surgery in special measures – giving staff six months to make improvements. The facility, which caters for around 4,300 people, had previously been rated ‘good’ in 2017.

It is run by the Suffolk GP Federation, which said it was taking the CQC’s findings very seriously. Staff say they are “very disappointed” with the rating.

In their report, inspectors raised concern about safeguarding practices and how patients’ medical records were dealt with.

Dr Paul Driscoll, medical director of the Suffolk GP Federation Picture: ASHLEY PICKERINGDr Paul Driscoll, medical director of the Suffolk GP Federation Picture: ASHLEY PICKERING

In some cases, major health needs had been missed off medical records, assessors said.

Inspectors found 358 items of “outstanding correspondence” during their visit, and said some patients had not been followed up in a timely way.

There was not a “failsafe system” for cervical screening at the surgery, they added.

Performance for diabetes was below local and England averages, while ‘exception reporting’ – a mechanism which doctors in training can use to report patient safety, rostering and training concerns – was above average for mental health.

However, the surgery was rated ‘good’ for care and responsiveness – with patients telling inspectors they felt supported, and treated with dignity and respect.

Assessors also found patients’ needs were met by the way services were organised and delivered – one example of this was the on-the-day urgent appointment service.

Practice leaders have vowed to take immediate action, adding that most of the issues raised by the CQC have already been rectified.

A spokesman said: “We are taking very seriously the findings of the CQC statement in relation to a recent inspection of Walton Surgery in High Street, Felixstowe.

“We are very disappointed that the practice has been rated inadequate.

“Together with the CQC and our hardworking staff members, we are immediately working to address issues raised in the report and have already begun implementing our action plan.

“Most of the issues raised by the CQC have already been rectified post the inspection.”

Meanwhile, Suffolk GP Federation’s medical director Dr Paul Driscoll added: “While we know we have work to do, it is our desire to make improvements to the practice and to the level of care provided for our service users in Felixstowe.

“New systems are being put in place to reach that goal.”

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