Leyton News

Leyton GP urgently taken over after shocking inspection

One patient’s diagnosis was delayed for five years due to the practice’s “inadequate” management
By Victoria Munro

Crawley Road Medical Centre (credit: Google Streetview)
Crawley Road Medical Centre (credit: Google Streetview)

A Leyton GP practice has been urgently taken over to avoid harm to patients after a damning inspection this year.

Crawley Road Medical Centre in High Road, Leyton, was visited by CQC inspectors at the end of June and rated “inadequate” in every single area. It was last inspected in 2017 and deemed “good”.

Chief inspector Dr Sean O’Kelly suggested the lead GP partners did not spend enough time overseeing the practice, highlighting that one is also a partner at a neighbouring practice.

This led to a backlog of work so severe that one patient was not informed of worrying blood test results for five years, delaying their diagnosis.

A CQC spokesperson told the Echo today it was not taking action against any individual doctors, who continue to work at the practice under the interim provider.

In his report, Dr O’Kelly noted that the CQC was unable even to establish how many patients the practice sees as they were given numbers ranging from 9,700 to 11,232.

He wrote: “The approach to managing staff absences and busy periods placed patients at risk of harm. We were not assured that the GP partners spent sufficient time onsite to ensure there was adequate clinical oversight. 

“In the past year, there were more than 200 outstanding documents that had not been filed. Most of the letters that required the GPs to issue prescriptions and place urgent referrals were not actioned and placed patients at imminent risk of harm.

“We found evidence that a patient received a five year delay in diagnosis where they were not informed of their blood tests and disease indication in 2017 by both GP partners who had been allocated this task.

“When this was investigated by the practice, they alluded to the GPs having difficulty with workload management which led to mental and decision fatigue as a cause for this error.”

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Other areas of concern included the practice’s inability to provide DBS certificates for all staff “despite repeated requests” or proof that asbestos discovered in some parts of the building in September last year had been cleared.

Dr O’Kelly added: “We found several errors in patient records such as incorrect alerts… and several spelling and grammatical errors that were illegible and made the notes difficult to decipher.

“We reviewed 71 patient records and found nearly all these patients had not been followed up following receipt of abnormal test results.

“We saw evidence where the inadequate management of test results by the practice led to patient harm. For example, one patient diagnosed with hypothyroidism last received appropriate blood tests in 2018 and their blood test levels were outside the recommended normal range.”

The CQC received 16 complaints about the practice in the last year and six more immediately after the inspection. 

This included a complaint from a blind patient who reported being “treated in a rude manner by staff and turned away from the practice” when they tried to receive face-to-face care.

Dr O’Kelly wrote: “Patients complained that some of the practice staff displayed a judgmental attitude towards them. Some patients complained that they were not allowed to contact the practice except through email only and they found this placed them at a disadvantage.

“Patients told us that they only received appointments based on who ‘shouts the loudest rather than who needs the care the most’. They also complained that patients requesting urgent appointments were told to contact 111.

“Patients were also not given appropriate and timely information to cope emotionally with their care. This was due to patients being unable to access the service and the overdue monitoring for the 71 patient records we reviewed that placed patients at risk of harm.”

The provider – also named Crawley Road Medical Centre – had its registration suspended for three months in July and the practice is currently run by WF Federated GP Network.

The CQC will inspect again at the end of these three months to see what action it needs to take for the practice’s long-term future.

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