Blackpool GP surgery at risk of closure as concerns emerge over vaccines

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Elizabeth Street Surgery has been given six months to improve and a new management team has been put in place

Elizabeth Street Surgery

Elizabeth Street Surgery inspection from health watchdogs raised serious concerns over patient safety.

Elizabeth Street Surgery has been rated ‘inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission following a routine visit earlier this month.

After failing to demonstrate good practise in any of the five key areas, ‘safe, caring, effective, well-led and responsive’, the medical centre was put into special measures.

A surgery in special measures has six months to make the required improvements before it risks losing its registration or being closed down entirely.

Blackpool and Wyre Clinical Comissioning Group (CCG) has announced that the surgery has now been put under new management as a result of the service.

Among a litany of concerns, inspectors were concerned that that thenursing team had been vaccinating patients without the authorisation of a Patient Group Direction (PGD).

According to the Specialist Pharmacist Service, a Patient Group Direction (PGD) is a ‘written instruction for the sale, supply and/or administration of medicines to groups of patients who may not be individually identified before presentation for treatment’.

This finding means that the practice is breaching regulation 12 for safe care and treatment.

Further investigation also found that sharps boxes, the containers used to store used needles, were not being used in line with best practice.

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

“Where necessary, another inspection will be conducted within a further six months, and if there is not enough improvement, we will move to close the service by adopting our proposal to remove this location or cancel the provider’s registration.”

The CCG has moved to reassure patients that everything is being done to improve the practice to make it safer.

The group had already been made aware of some of the issues being faced at the practice and has worked with nearby Adelaide Street Family Practice to support with the running of the practice for the next six months.

Dr Neil Hartley-Smith, a Blackpool GP and clinical director at the CCG, said: “We are grateful to the partners at Adelaide Street who agreed to act as ‘caretakers’ at Elizabeth Street from 1 May this year.

“What this means for patients of Elizabeth Street is that they may see some different faces or hear different voices when attending appointments either physically or over the phone, but services will continue to be provided at Elizabeth Street.

“This is a short-term arrangement for six months while we work with practice staff, patients and wider partners to come to a long-term solution.”

Dr Sanjeev Maharaj, the former managing partner, has now left the practice, however the majority of the remaining staff, including Dr Victor Utomi, are expected to continue working at Elizabeth Street as the local NHS looks to minimise disruption for patients.

Dr Cruz Augustine, lead partner at Adelaide Street Family Practice, said: “We want to reassure anyone who reads the CQC’s report that we are fully aware of the issues being faced by the practice and, with a new management team in place, working hard to make the necessary improvements.

“In the meantime, any patients of Elizabeth Street who need to contact the practice can do so by calling the usual number.”