CQC immediately closes practice that hired 'unqualified' locum for GP work

The CQC has elected to immediately close an 'inadequate' practice that hired an unqualified 'physician's assistant' to conduct patient consultations in lieu of a GP.

Professor Steve Field: 'On the basis of the concerns identified at this inspection we took enforcement action' (Photo: Pete Hill)
Professor Steve Field: 'On the basis of the concerns identified at this inspection we took enforcement action' (Photo: Pete Hill)

In its inspection report for the Goodwood Court Medical Centre in Hove, East Sussex, the CQC said the practice was in breach of seven regulations of the Health and Social Care Act and was putting patients at ‘serious risk of harm’.

The watchdog said its inspectors could find ‘no evidence’ that an individual posing as a physician’s assistant who saw nine patients at the practice was qualified to practise as a GP or a physician’s assistant.

The practice had failed to carry out any robust checks on the individual and could only provide inspectors with a CV when asked to see their recruitment checks, according to its report.

The nine patients in question have since been alerted and appointments with trained GPs have been arranged for them by NHS England.

Among other concerns, the practice was also found to store out-of-date medicines in its refrigerators and stored some medicines in an unlocked room adjacent to the patient waiting area.

Unannounced CQC inspection

Goodwood Court Medical Centre was inspected over three days in June without prior warning following the watchdog receiving ‘significant concerns’ about the practice.

CQC chief inspector for primary care Professor Steve Field said in its report: ‘We found the practice inadequate for providing safe, effective, caring, responsive services and being well-led. It was also inadequate for providing services for older people, people with long-term conditions, families, children and young people, working age people, people whose circumstances may make them vulnerable and people experiencing poor mental health.

‘On the basis of the concerns identified at this inspection we took enforcement action. The CQC applied for and were granted an urgent order to cancel the registration of the provider. This was subject to appeal by the provider in the First Tier Tribunal. An initial appeal was made but subsequently withdrawn. The order stands and the provider’s registration has been cancelled.’

Only a handful of practices have been immediately shut down by the CQC so far.

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