A York GP group has been put into special measures over failings including long waiting times for patients.
Unity Health, which has surgeries at Kimberlow Hill and Wenlock Terrace, has been rated ‘inadequate’ by inspection body the Care Quality Commission.
A CQC report said that Unity was not meeting national standards in a number of areas, including:
- weaknesses in the management of potential risks to patient safety
- arrangements for monitoring and reviewing prescribing
- complaints handling
- governance, and
- effective systems to regularly monitor staff competency levels.
Partners in the group have written to patients to explain the situation. In their letter, they say:
Naturally, this news comes as a huge disappointment to all of the staff working at Unity Health. We also appreciate that it has the potential to cause you to be concerned and we apologise most sincerely for that.
We wanted to take this opportunity to reassure you and let you know that we are doing everything in our power to put things right quickly and to get a speedy re-inspection that will take us out of special measures.
‘Excessively poor care’
The group has come in for a great deal of criticism in recent weeks, particularly over difficulties in contacting the surgery by phone.
Recent comments on the NHS Choices website have seen patients criticising ‘excessively poor care’ and ‘dreadful service’ at the Kimberlow Hill Surgery.
Comments about the Wenlock Terrace Surgery have been equally damning: ‘appalling booking system’ and ‘dangerously unorganised’ were two ratings.
The Unity bosses have pledged to improve things. In their letter they say they have already put a number of key improvements in place including:
- instigating a series of changes to the telephone system and taking on new call handling staff
- suspending the online triage service until further notice
- pausing the registration of any new patients
- bringing in additional governance support from the Royal College of General Practitioners, and
- overhauling the complaints system to ensure all concerns are responded to comprehensively and in a timely manner.
Practice managers have also pledged to reach out to patients to ask “where you think we can be doing better”.
One patient told YorkMix: “Thank god it looks like improvements will be made.”