A team of medical professionals had to review the notes of 3,200 patients registered at a Kent practice because of “significant” concerns over patient safety.
Stephen Lawrence, who ran the St Mary’s Island Surgery in Chatham, which had already been in special measures, has now been deregistered as a provider.
This comes after concerns over a backlog of prescription requests at the practice. More than 1,000 blood test results – some nearly a year old – appeared not to have been viewed, and four month old referral letters were not sent to secondary care providers. At least five patients had not been referred under the two week wait or rapid access referral procedures, or not followed up when they should have been.
The Care Quality Commission inspection report, published today, said the provider – Dr Lawrence – was unable to search electronic patient records to identify patients on medication who needed monitoring to show the date of their last blood test. He said he relied on remembering individual patient details. Some of these patients had not had blood tests within the recommended period.
Inspectors were also concerned about the lack of any permanent administrative or reception staff onsite, which meant staff on temporary loan from other practices had not had any induction and were unable to access the defibrillator.
The practice was found to be inadequate on all measures during an inspection in January and restrictions were placed on its registration. When the conditions were not met, the CQC cancelled its registration and a new provider took over the practice.
Dr Lawrence was a medical school GP tutor at two London universities and a principal teaching fellow at Warwick University’s medical school, as well as being an executive committee member at the Primary Care Diabetes Society. These commitments meant he was away from the practice at least two days a week when a newly qualified salaried GP would be present until 4pm. When the CQC inspected the practice, Dr Lawrence was away and when contacted he said he had been seeking help from Medway Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS England.
CQC deputy chief inspector of general practice Ruth Rankine said: “The way in which St Mary’s Island Surgery was operating under Dr Lawrence failed to meet the fundamental aspects of good care and treatment that people have the right to expect – high quality, compassionate and safe.
“Enforcement action to close a service is not something that the CQC takes lightly. Where we find that patients are at significant risk, as we did in this case, we have no choice but to work with our partner agencies in order to take action to protect the safety and welfare of the public.”
Sarah Vaux, chief nurse at Medway CCG, said: “As soon as we were alerted to potential issues we contacted the CQC and worked with them during their inspections. We wish to reassure patients that Dr Lawrence is no longer at the surgery and a dedicated team of medical professionals has reviewed the notes of all the patients registered at the practice. Where necessary all patients have now been contacted.”
The practice was placed in special measures after an inspection in December 2015. In September 2016, it was rated it as good at removed from the regime.
23 April 2018