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Vaccines 'not stored properly' at inadequate St Mary’s Island GP Surgery in Chatham Maritime

By Jenni Horn

Another GP surgery in Medway has been placed in special measures after being rated inadequate by the health watchdog.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) made an unannounced visit to St Mary’s Island Surgery in Chatham Maritime in December last year and found a number of concerns.

The team discovered vaccines were not being stored properly, blank prescription forms were not kept securely and the practice could not demonstrate it was following infection control guidelines.

The surgery on St Mary's Island, Chatham. Picture Steve Crispe

The surgery on St Mary's Island, Chatham. Picture: Steve Crispe

The CQC’s report also states that recruitment checks were not being carried out and staff were not up to date with training.

"Since the visit we have started a thorough review of our policies, strengthened the measures we have in place around reporting issues or incidents, reviewed and updated our staff training programme, raised administrative staff awareness of policies" - Dr Stephen Lawrence

Patients told the CQC they were treated with compassion, dignity and respect but the practice scored lower than average on satisfaction scores for consultations.

The practice, which has 3,200 patients, has one permanent GP and employs locums through an agency. It also has a nurse, practice manager and health care assistant.

Janet Williamson, from the CQC, said: “The way in which the service was provided by Dr Stephen Lawrence (St Mary’s Island Surgery) failed to meet the fundamental aspects of good health care that people have the right to expect.

“There are significant issues to be resolved, but with the right support through the special measures regime, I believe the practice can improve.”

The CQC will re-inspect the practice within six months to check if sufficient improvements have been made. If not, the CQC can close the surgery after a further six months.

In a statement on the surgery’s website, Dr Lawrence said he was “disappointed” with the report and said urgent steps have already been taken

He added: “Since the visit we have started a thorough review of our policies, strengthened the measures we have in place around reporting issues or incidents, reviewed and updated our staff training programme, raised administrative staff awareness of policies, implemented a new process to strengthen how medicines are stored and improved our recruitment and staff appraisal processes.

“Some of the issues highlighted will take longer to address and we have developed a detailed action plan that sets out how we will be addressing each area, with timescales for ensuring these standards are met as soon as possible.

“As a practice, patient care is our top priority. We are taking this report, and the issues raised by the CQC extremely seriously and we are doing all we can to deliver the improvements needed as quickly as possible.”

Earlier this month, Brompton Medical Centre in Gillingham was placed in special measures after being rated inadequate by the CQC.

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