GP out-of-hours 'serving communities well', CQC inspections find

The first round of new-model CQC inspections of GP out-of-hours providers have found generally good services, although some have been told they must improve.

Professor Field: some out-of-hours services need to improve (photo: Pete Hill)
Professor Field: some out-of-hours services need to improve (photo: Pete Hill)

The chief inspector of general practice has published reports for the first ten inspections of out-of-hours providers under the new regime.

Professor Steve Field said the results showed that 'some services are serving their communities well but others still have some work to do'.

The inspections were carried out as part of the first phase of the new model of professionally led inspections, so will not receive a rating.

The announced first-phase inspections - carried out by GPs, practice managers, nurses and lay-inspectors - would be used to help develop and improve the process, said Professor Field.

He added: ‘They have been particularly helpful in shaping our thinking on ratings, which we will start to give to out- and in-hours GP services from October this year. We will also publish a full report on all out-of-hours inspections undertaken in this first wave of inspections later in the summer.’

Problems highlighted by the inspections included drugs being stored insufficiently securely; drug records not maintained according to guidance; criminal record checks of GPs not carried out; medicine fridge temperatures outside of the safe range without action taken; and failure to conduct staff appraisals.

Praise for services

But many of the providers were praised for the quality of their service.

North Nottinghamshire Out of Hours was found to be ‘effective in meeting patient needs’, with ‘robust systems in place to help ensure patient safety’.

Inspectors reported that ‘the patients we talked with at South Essex Emergency Doctors Service (SEEDS) Thurrock were very positive about the care they received. Staff told us that they felt proud to work at the service'.

The Chesterton Medical Centre had ‘responded very effectively to safeguarding concerns in a previous CQC inspection and had made all the improvements necessary to keep people safe’, inspectors said.

At South East London Doctors Cooperative (SELDOC) Base, Dulwich Community Hospital in south London, GP inspectors said: ‘Patients received a caring service. Patients told us that they were happy with the care they received and that they were involved in the decisions about their care.’

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