Weston's 'surgery of horrors' bashed by CQC report

Graham Road Surgery. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Graham Road surgery 'requires improvement' according to a CQC report. - Credit: Archant

Patients of Weston's 'surgery of horrors' have stated that they were not surprised after it received a damning report from an independent watchdog.

Graham Road Surgery has been earmarked for improvements by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after an unannounced inspection was carried out this summer.

The subsequent report was published 'in response to intelligence to suggest there was emerging risk at this practice'.

In the report, Graham Road 'needed improvement' for its levels of care, safety, responsiveness to people's needs and leadership. It also scored 'inadequate' for its care's effectiveness.

MORE: Record number of 12 hour A&E waits for a bed at Weston Hospital

A founding member of Graham Road Surgery Patient's Voice, an independent group created after the practice's Patient Participation Group was disbanded and replaced in 2021, told the Mercury that the results were not a surprise.

Laurie Fineman said: "This was what we expected from the inspection - if not better than we anticipated.

"The surgery has been failing for years now, before Covid, and some have called it the 'surgery of horrors' though I stress that this of no fault to the wonderful doctors and nurses who work there.

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"The managing was been poor and it is rare to see the same doctor twice, leaving the patient with no connection to the person trusted to help them."

Graham Road was ranked 6440th out of 6659 English GP surgeries in a NHS Survey carried out earlier this year.

It is managed by Pier Health Group and supports more than 11,000 patients.

The CQC mentioned 'there was insufficient levels of staff to deliver services safe and effectively to these patients'.

Cllr Mike Bell.

Cllr Mike Bell - Credit: NSC

North Somerset Council's deputy leader, and executive for healthcare, revealed that he has asked for a response to be set out by Pier Health.

Cllr Mike Bell said: "I have read the CQC report of Graham Road surgery and it is very disappointing - though not surprising as it aligns with the message patients have been communicating for many months.

"I have been meeting regularly with the Pier Health Group team and raising the continuing issues at Graham Road.

"I know Pier Health is determined to tackle the historic issues at Graham Road and has plans to build a new surgery that is fit for the future.

"However, the patients of today need and deserve a quality service too. There is too much of a postcode lottery in local health care with the response you get from your surgery or the likelihood of getting an appointment with your GP dependent on where you live, not your need.

"I have asked Pier Health to set out their response to the inspection report and what action they will urgently take to address the issues raised."

Dr John Heather. Picture: Eleanor Young

Dr John Heather. Picture: Eleanor Young - Credit: Eleanor Young

Pier Health's chairman, John Heather, has responded to the criticism noted in the report and insists it will do all it can to improve Graham Road's service.

Dr Heather said: "We apologise for the time it is taking to make the improvements that are required.

“We are taking the report very seriously and are working closely with Bristol, North Somerset & South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to ensure the recommendations from the report are addressed.

"Our improvement action plan is being monitored and supported by the CCG over the coming weeks and months to ensure it is followed and milestones continue to be achieved.

“The practice has been actively recruiting to GP and administration roles, and has appointed a new Group Practice Manager to run the day-to-day business of the practice.

“We acknowledge 2021 has been a difficult year and hope patients will see the tangible benefits with changes such as a new telephone system that will be installed in January 2022.”

Weston Rugby Club redevelopment

Health centre plans. - Credit: Studio Hive

Staff have earmarked a site at Weston Rugby Club to move the surgery to, which will offer more consulting rooms than at the present site.

The relocation would move the patients to a state-of-the-art health centre at the rugby club.