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Closure threat for 'unsafe' Park Farm doctors' surgery in Folkestone

By Sean Axtell

An 'unsafe' doctors' surgery that serves 3,000 patients could be shut down amid a string of failings.

Folkestone’s Park Farm surgery, run by Dr Abhijit Neil Banik, the respiratory lead for South Kent Coast CCG, has been plunged into special measures after being rated 'Inadequate'.

It comes following an announced Care Quality Commissioning (CQC) probe in February that unearthed a catalogue of errors at the Alder Road practice.

Park Farm surgery in Folkestone
Park Farm surgery in Folkestone

Rather than owning a defibrillator, medics told inspectors they used the fire station’s next door but not all staff knew its location, the report says.

A lack of emergency medicines for cardiac pain, diabetes, epilepsy, asthma and meningitis was also uncovered.

When the CQC flagged the issue the surgery failed to show it had obtained the medicines the next day according to Professor Steve Fields, who filed a report this month.

The practice owned an oxygen cylinder dated April 2014 but inspectors were unclear if it was the manufacture or expiry date.

Medicines and vaccines were stored incorrectly.

Fridge temperatures had not been properly monitored with documents showing a week-long gap in record keeping.

Vaccination records were absent, and when the surgery said it would present them to inspectors it failed to do so.

Park Farm Surgery in Folkestone
Park Farm Surgery in Folkestone

The GP and practice manager lacked the “capacity and skills” to deliver high-quality sustainable care, the report adds.

Prof Fields said: “Not all leaders demonstrated they had the experience, capacity and skills to deliver the practice strategy and address risks to it.

"Staff told us both the principal GP and the practice manager were visible and approachable.

“However, in the event of unplanned absence the practice was unable to demonstrate they had sufficient arrangements to cover these key roles.”

Prof Fields added Dr Banik claimed he planned to merge with a nearby surgery but failed to provide evidence.

He continued: “There was not an effective process to identify, understand, monitor and address current and future risks including risks to patient safety.

“For example, risk assessments and effective policies for infection prevention and control, medicines management, prescriptions, significant events, health and safety and for future planning for staff cover and the practice list reopening in May 2018.”

Park Farm Surgery was rated ‘Good’ for levels of care, ‘Requires Improvement’ for responsiveness and effectiveness, ‘Inadequate’ for safety, leadership and overall.

Previous inspections had rated it ‘Good’ then ‘Requires Improvement’ - it has now been plunged into special measures.

Prof Fields explained: “I am placing this service in special measures.

“Services placed in special measures will be inspected again within six months.

“If insufficient improvements have been made such that there remains a rating of inadequate for any population group, key question or overall, we will take action in line with our enforcement procedures to begin the process of preventing the provider from operating the service.”

The practice did not respond to requests for comment.

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