The practice was erroneously identified as being rated inadequate on the CQC website due to a computer 'glitch', the watchdog has admitted.
The inadequate report, which was live online for almost a month before the CQC was alerted to the fact by GPonline, has now been updated to represent the practice’s actual rating of 'requires improvement'.
Both the report and summary page on the CQC’s website for the New Invention Health Centre in Willenhall, West Midlands, displayed the incorrect rating.
The practice said the error had 'impacted patient and staff morale' and damaged its reputation. A spokesperson added that staff were committed to continuing to provide 'a positive experience of care' to patients.
The CQC did not speculate as to whether more practices could be affected by this glitch, but did confirm that it was investigating the matter 'to make sure that this doesn't happen again'.
The error occurred following publication of a second report for the practice. In its first report, published in March 2015, it was rated 'good' overall and in all domains except for safety – which was found to be 'requires improvement' for breaching four Health & Social Care Act 2008 regulations.
During a focused inspection in December 2015, inspectors revisited the practice to assess whether it was now meeting these legal safety requirements.
Although they concluded that some improvements had been made, the inspectors decided that the practice's safety had dropped to 'inadequate'.
The CQC told GPonline that if a practice is 'inadequate' in only one of the five key domains, but performed well in all others, then it would normally be rated 'requires improvement' overall.
The CQC did not say what caused the error, but the problem appears to have occurred after publication of the second report on 18 March 2016. The practice's CQC webpage – which links to the report – showed all the correct ratings for each domain, but showed the overall rating as 'inadequate' until 12 April – 25 days after publication of the second report – when GPonline queried the rating.
A CQC spokesman said: 'Unfortunately on this occasion an error occurred as the inspection report was being loaded on to the CQC website.
'Although all the domains showed the correct rating on the provider’s page the overall rating was wrong. As soon as this issue was brought to our attention we rectified it and made the practice aware of what had happened and apologised to them for the error.
'We are checking to see why this happened and to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.'
A spokesperson from the New Invention Health Centre said: ‘CQC have accepted that an error was made on their behalf when publishing the rating for New Invention Health Centre and they have since rectified this.
‘The error has naturally affected the reputation of the practice, and impacted on patient and staff morale. However, as a practice which has been through so many positive changes, we are confident that with the on-going support from our patient and patient reference group (PRG) members we can continue to keep our patients healthy and provide a positive experience of care.’
The practice is the first to have fallen from a CQC 'good' rating to a lower score, although some 'requires improvement' practices have dropped to 'inadequate'.