GP surgery in Lincolnshire rated 'inadequate' in damning report which questions safety of patients

The report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has been released today (Wednesday)
The Sidings Medical Centre in Boston.The Sidings Medical Centre in Boston.
The Sidings Medical Centre in Boston.

A Boston GP surgery has been placed into special measures after a ‘comprehensive inspection’ by the Care Quality Commission rated it ‘inadequate’.

The Sidings Medical Practice, which serves almost 17,000 patients, was said by the CQC in its report to be “In breach of regulations”.

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However, the practice claims it now has “significant changes in place to improve leadership and safety”.

The doctors’ surgery, located at Boston West Business Park off Sleaford Road, was “inspected in response to concerns shared with CQC” – according to the report.

Systems, practices and processes at the medical centre “did not always keep people safe and safeguarded from abuse", the inspector states.

The report adds: “Patients’ immediate needs were not always fully assessed, and care and treatment were not always delivered in line with current legislation. Patients presenting with symptoms which could indicate serious illness were not always followed up in a timely and appropriate way.”

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Out of five questions the CQC aimed to answer, the practice was deemed to be inadequate, with a further two said to ‘require improvement’.

The five questions, and the resulting ratings, are as follows:

• Are services safe? – rated Inadequate

• Are services effective? – rated Requires Improvement

• Are services caring? – rated Good

• Are services responsive to people’s needs? - rated Requires Improvement

• Are services well-led? – rated Inadequate

An excerpt from the report’s summary states: “The practice did not have clear and effective processes for managing risks, issues, and performance” and “did not always act on appropriate and accurate information”.

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The inspector also noted the following: “Care was not always provided in a way that kept patients safe and mitigated the risk of avoidable harm” and pointed out that the environment was “poorly maintained” and “not conducive to good infection prevention and control”.

The report also details specific concerns such as “the emergency trolley and grab bag did not have all required medicines and equipment in case of an emergency”, and that fire doors were “wedged open”.

However, under the question of whether the practice was ‘caring’, the report states “staff treated patients with kindness, respect, and compassion. Feedback from patients was positive about the way staff treated people.”

We put the CQC’s finding to the practice. Mary Burney, The Sidings Medical Practice Improvement Director from Omnes Healthcare, told us: "We appreciate that the CQC findings are disappointing. The safety of our patients is paramount and we are committed to providing the highest standard of care. In response to the CQC assessment, which took place in October 2023, we have already put significant changes in place to improve leadership and safety. We are proud that our staff's dedication has been recognised with a good rating for caring.

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“Looking ahead, we will continue to work closely with our Patient Participation Group and Integrated Care Board and other stakeholders. We are determined to make necessary changes to ensure excellent levels of care and treatment are provided in a safe way to our local community.”

Phillip Bosworth - chairman of The Sidings Medical Practice Patient Participation Group, added: “As chairman of The Sidings Patient Participation Group, I want to confirm that while we acknowledge the significance of recent CQC findings, we are in full support of the practice’s immediate improvement efforts put in place following the inspection in October 2023. We understand the challenges faced and are committed to working closely with the practice to ensure patient voices are heard and changes are made. Our group will play a significant role in this improvement process and will hold the practice to account while providing support and encouragement.

“The report rates the practice as Good for staff providing a caring service. We firmly believe in the dedication of staff at the practice, and with the embedding of improved practices and training along with recruitment of key personnel, remain confident in their ability to provide high-quality, safe care to our community.”

Omnes Healthcare was awarded a five-year contract to run the GP practice from September 2022 by NHS Lincolnshire Integrated Care Board which represents and supports GP surgeries across the county.

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The practice had been previously run under a caretaking contract by Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust.

A spokesperson for NHS Lincolnshire ICB, said: "We acknowledge the publication today of The Sidings Medical Practice latest Care Quality Commission (CQC) report, and we will continue to provide them with the necessary support as required. This includes direct support from ICB teams to maximise the opportunities to make the necessary improvements. As an organisation, we are committed to ensuring the people of Lincolnshire have access to high quality NHS services.”

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