Oulton Medical Centre Closure – Labour Group Statement

The people of Lowestoft are still reeling from the news of Oulton Medical Centre and Kirkley Surgery’s closure by the Care Quality Commission. The CQC took this action due to a lack of progress made by the practice following an “Inadequate” rating in March.

The closure leaves over 5000 patients without a GP service, which has to be farmed out to other practices in the area in order to meet the shortfall. Although assurances have been made by the Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group that additional doctors and nurses are being recruited to help alleviate the pressure, doubt and outrage still remains from ordinary residents affected by this closure.

Cllr Peter Byatt, who represents many patients at Kirkley Surgery, said “Clearly nowhere near enough was done to make the improvements necessary to Oulton Medical Practice and Kirkley Surgery. These practices are in areas of Lowestoft that are very deprived – with many disabled, elderly and vulnerable people making use of these services. These people are now left in the lurch, particularly as so many patients will be waiting for seasonal flu injections, with pressure already mounting on other Local Practices to get this done, and that is unacceptable”.

Peter concluded, “The Labour Groups at Suffolk County Council and Waveney District Council shall be making further inquiries in to this matter to ascertain what was done to prevent this closure and what action was taken to improve the practices following their original “Inadequate” rating back in March.”

Highlighted areas of improvement following inspection by CQC in March:

  • Implement effective systems for the management of risks to patients and unsafe care. This should include arrangements for managing significant events, safety alerts, health and safety, fire safety and staff safety.
  • Ensure that robust arrangements are in place for the effective recruitment of staff.
  • Ensure that processes are in place for sharing the learning from significant events and complaints with all staff.
  • Ensure that there is an appropriate standard of cleanliness at the practice, with documented checks of the cleaning undertaken. Infection control audits need to be undertaken, with actions identified and completed. Actions from the legionella risk assessment must also be implemented.
  • Ensure that effective information governance processes are in place. This includes ensuring that that all patient correspondence is reviewed by a GP and actioned in a timely way and that clinical coding of patients is accurate.
  • Ensure that records relating to the undertaking of the regulated activity can be located promptly when required. This includes training records, clinical meetings and infection control audits.
  • Ensure that staff are supported, with inductions implemented for new staff and appropriate training and appraisals completed by all staff.
  • Ensure there are sufficient numbers of clinical staff when the surgery is open for patients to attend.
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