June 2, 2022 4.00 pm

Stamford GP remains in special measures despite improvements

Team say they’ve made “significant” improvements

A Stamford medical practice will remain in special measures for six months after the Care Quality Commission upgraded its rating from “Inadequate” to “Requires Improvement”.

Lakeside Healthcare was placed into special measures in August 2021, and CQC inspectors revisited in March this year.

They found the practice to be “Inadequate” for safety but “Requires Improvement” for the rest of the key questions of ‘Effective, Caring, Responsive and Well-led’.

“We found that although some improvements had been made further work was required,” said the report.

“The practice had met the conditions placed on their registration but had still not ensured that care and treatment was provided in a safe way.

“They had not organised and delivered services to meet patients’ needs or ensured patients were able to access care and treatment in a timely way.

“They had improved but still did not have established effective systems and processes in place to ensure good governance in accordance with the fundamental standards of care or ensured that persons employed in the provision of the regulated activities received the appropriate support, training, supervision and appraisal necessary to enable them to carry out the duties.”

The CQC found two breaches of regulations as part of their inspection and said the provider “must” ensure care and treatment is provided in a safe way.

They said there were “still processes that needed embedding and strengthening” adding the practice would remain in special measures for a further six months.

In a statement responding to the inspection, Lakeside said it would “continue to work hard to deliver further improvements”.

The statement noted a “significant” amount of work to improve the service and that leaders “demonstrated that they had the capacity and skills”.

Hub Manager, Teri White, who was recruited as part of an ongoing improvement strategy, said: “As a team we are determined to get Lakeside Healthcare at Stamford to where it needs to be for our patients and stakeholders and have a positive relationship with our Patient Participation Group.

“We have made significant changes since the previous inspection, including employing more staff, restructuring our teams, introducing new management and upgrading our telephone system.

“We also deployed staff pro-actively to deal with areas of greatest demand and installed a new on-line consultation system, which is accessible out of surgery hours.

“This raft of measures was all aimed at improving administrative and clinical capacity and increasing access for patients, at a time of huge demand.”

She added, however, that despite all that the practice “acknowledges that more needs to be done”

Bosses at the practice angered local residents in September 2020 after it announced its intention to close St Mary’s Medical Centre in Wharf Road.

However it has since reopened post-pandemic and is still in use for NHS primary care services under Lakeside’s management.

Many consider the owners to have a “monopoly” on GP services in the area and fear that they wield too much power over healthcare provision.