We would like to apologise for the lack of definitive information we have so far been able to offer with regards to the recent problems we have experienced at the Practice due to GP sickness, Care Quality Commission Inspection Reports and several other matters. However, we would like to thank our patients for their good wishes and their continued patience during this time.
We can now confirm that both Dr Simpson and Dr Knott are back at work (however, Dr Simpson will require further eye operations in the future). It is with regret that we have heard news from Dr Nisbet, informing us of his decision to retire from Practice. As you may be aware, Dr Helga Thorpe has re-joined the Practice and will be working a regular Wednesday session. Also Dr Abukar Muse has been helping out for some time by offering locum sessions. Dr Sheppard continues to see patients on Tuesday mornings.
Our Care Quality Inspections have not been quite as smooth as we had hoped! As a result, we have been working with the CQC, the Clinical Commissioning Group and with NHS England to address the perceived short comings highlighted in their reports.
Following our inspection in May this year the practice received a “Section 29 Notice” requiring us to ensure certain safety provisions were in place, and to ensure that regular monitoring of some clinical areas was undertaken. This was in addition to other management changes we were asked to make. In a re-visit by the CQC Inspectors in August 2016 this Section was lifted (deemed no longer necessary) with advice being given about other areas where the Practice needed to improve. We would like to state that the Practice has always undertaken regular checks with regard to patient safety, and has a good outcome record in this area; unfortunately these checks were not felt to be of a sufficiently demonstrable and documented nature. Therefore we are endeavouring to adhere to the letter of the CQC recommendations to allow validation that this work is taking place in an appropriate manner.
Planned Changes to the Provision of Services at the Surgery:
As you may know, it was necessary to suspend our “open” surgery system when Dr Simpson and Dr Knott were off sick long term. This was to enable patients to be seen at an appropriate time and place according to medical priority. Similarly, we had to discontinue patient consultations at Stoke Ferry School and Northwold Village Hall.
Following a full review of service provision and taking into account CQC comments, patient expectations, safety concerns and medical effectiveness, we feel long term changes are now necessary for the ongoing future of the Practice.
Our Patient Participation Group Meeting was held on Wednesday 2nd November 2016 and our proposals were introduced and discussed with the Group. In summary, we feel that it would be inappropriate to restore “open” surgery access. It is planned that our current “book on the day” appointment system will continue in an evolving form. We are also looking to permanently end GP consultations at Stoke Ferry School and Northwold Village Hall, as they are no longer compatible with safe modern practice. The above changes will be put forward to NHS England for their approval.
We have also had to make necessary changes to our prescription delivery service to align with concerns raised by the CQC. As Northwold residents are aware there is no longer a delivery service to Northwold Tile Centre. Stoke Ferry deliveries will remain but only for housebound and patients with serious transport issues. This is in part due lack of safe storage space at the Stoke Ferry Post Office. We would also clarify that we are unable to deliver certain medications to the Post Office, i.e. fridge items (i.e. eye drops, Insulin etc.) or stronger pain medications (particularly controlled drugs).
There are several other lesser changes we will be seeking to action in the future. The details of these are being discussed at the Practice at present.
We again thank patients for their support and appreciate this has been a difficult time for everyone. We are due a further CQC Inspection in December and are hopeful that all the work done to effect change within the Practice will be acceptable to the Care Quality Commissioning Inspectors.
If patients have any specific questions or queries, please feel free to discuss this with Patient Group Members if appropriate or to write to the Practice Manager, Mrs. Pauline Whitehead.
Dr Hugh Simpson