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Healthcare provider in special measures after ‘unfit for purpose’ GP practice forced to close

Aston Healthcare has been placed in special measures after inspectors found the provider to be unable to provide safe services, had no systems in place to ensure premises were well managed, and in one case was forced to close a medical centre.

Gresford medical centre was found to be “unfit for purpose” after the branch was found to be in “an extremely poor state of care” with essential fire safety equipment not in place. It was ruled that the premises must not be used with immediate effect.

The CQC rated Aston Healthcare’s ability to provide both safe and effective care as ‘inadequate’ and its services for older and vulnerable people, family and children, and those suffering from poor mental health, were all also rated the same.

The health inspectorate said that the provider did not have the infrastructure to effectively manage a GP practice that provided services for more than 27,000 patients across six branch surgeries.

It found that the provider had no systems in place to mentor or have oversight of staff, periodical health, and that safety checks were not always completed.

There were “serious issues” concerned with fire safety at three branch surgeries, particularly at Gresford where there were misleading fire safety instructions, incomplete safety checks, and significant infection control risks had not been reviewed.

Following the inspections in early October, the CQC closed the GP surgery for a month, with patients receiving texts stating the surgery would be closed “due to safety concerns.”

Since then, Gresford Medical Centre has remained closed since the inspection, but was supposed to reopen on 5 November so that urgent building work could be completed. Aston Healthcare are now waiting for CQC approval.

Neither the management of medicines or arrangements for medical emergencies were well managed, which along with a gap in the systems keeping people and staff safe from abuse all contributed to the overall ‘inadequate’ rating.

The CQC warned that the provider was in breach of several regulations and said the provider must work to establish effective systems and processes to ensure good governance in accordance with the fundamental standards of care.

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