London urgent care centre placed into special measures by CQC

An urgent care centre in the London Borough of Redbridge has been placed into special measures by the health inspectorate.

Following a CQC inspection on 5 April, King George’s Emergency Urgent Care Centre (EUCC), an independently run unit at King George Hospital, was rated ‘inadequate’ for being safe and well-led, and rated ‘requires improvement’ for being effective and caring.

The emergency care unit— run by private company Partnership of East London Co-operatives Ltd (PELC)— was found to have a number of issues, most notably that EUCC’s clinical streaming process, where patients are initially assessed by a nurse, did not safely monitor or manage risks.

Several other issues were raised by CQC inspectors. The delivery of high-quality care, for example, “was not assured by the governance arrangements in place.” Nursing staff induction documents were not readily available and medicines audits “lacked a clear process” for managing clinicians who persistently breached local prescribing expectations.

Of treatment of patients at the unit, the report said: “Staff treated patients with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect. However, there was no system to seek patients’ feedback. Three of the eight CQC comment cards completed by patients in the weeks leading up to the inspection indicated patients did not always feel they were treated with respect upon arrival at the centre.”

The inspectorate said the provider must make improvements to ensure care and treatment is provided in a safe way to patients, and establish effective systems and processes to ensure good governance in accordance with the fundamental standards of care.

CQC inspectors also called on the provider to review its medicines management protocols relating to checking expiry dates, and review the training needs of non-clinical staff in response to patient feedback.

Professor Ursula Gallagher, CQC deputy chief inspector of GP Practices, said: “It is a matter of extreme concern that an urgent care centre should be rated as Inadequate and placed in special measures. I can’t emphasise enough the importance of triage and assessment at all times in urgent care and our expectation that this will be delivered.

“The service will be kept under review and if needed could be escalated to urgent enforcement action.”

Dr Shazia Mariam, medical director at PELC, said: “As an organisation, patient safety and quality of care remain our top priorities, and we are taking the report very seriously. 

“While we know that we have more to do, we are making good progress. We have already made significant changes, including improving our medicines management system, engaging clinicians to be more active in clinical audits and taking steps to make sure that patients are streamed appropriately and safely by live feedback, audits and joint clinical pathway development with Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge University Hospital Trust (BHRUT). 

“We will continue to work with the CQC and with our local partners, including commissioners and the Trust, to ensure that the quality of care continues to improve for all our patients. This is a disappointing and an unexpected outcome but having being placed into special measures, we will now draw on the additional support available to drive further improvements and make change happen.”

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Image credit: Cameravit 


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