Medical centre with massive email backlog and lack of staff rated inadequate

The Beaches Medical Centre in Gorleston, pictured in October 2018, before it merged with Gorleston M

The Beaches Medical Centre in Gorleston, pictured in October 2018, before it merged with Gorleston Medical Centre. It has been rated inadequate by the CQC. Picture: Google Maps. - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk medical centre has been rated inadequate after issues including a backlog of more than 2,000 e-mails, low levels of staff satisfaction and high levels of stress were raised in an inspection.

A report published on Friday (April 26) has placed the Beaches Medical Centre, in Gorleston, in special measures.

The practice is a merger of the former Central Healthcare Centre and Gorleston Medical Centre.

Inspectors visited the centre on March 6 this year.

They found that while the practice had good facilities and was well equipped to treat patients and meet their needs, the system for reviewing patients’ correspondence was not effective.

The practice had 2,335 e-mails which had not been reviewed to see if any actions needed to be taken.

The report also highlighted a backlog of 333 patients’ notes which needed to be summarised.

Most Read

The practice advised this had become an issue since the merger and was due to staff shortages and sickness.

Many staff did not feel supported by the practice due to the pressure of work, the report stated.

“They did not always feel able to raise concerns with management due to the pressure the management team were under,” it said.

The practice was classified as requiring improvement for providing caring services.

A survey carried out last year revealed the number of patients who found it easy to contact someone on the phone was below the national average, 35pc compared to 70pc.

“Patients said it was difficult to get through to the practice by telephone in the morning to make an appointment and often appointments had already been taken when they got through,” the inspector said.

One patient no longer phoned the practice but attended in person to make an appointment.

The survey also showed the percentage of patients satisfied that the healthcare professional was good at listening or treating them with care or concern was lower than the national average.

The report noted that the practice had reviewed the survey’s feedback and acted in response.

Dr Sunder Gopaul, from The Beaches Medical Centre, said: “We are disappointed with the CQC’s findings and would like to reassure our patients that we are working hard to improve the services we provide.”

He said the centre has drawn up a comprehensive action plan to address the areas where inspectors highlighted the need for further improvement and has already made some significant changes.

“Providing good quality, safe healthcare for our patients is our number one priority,” the doctor said.

Sadie Parker, director of primary care at NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group, which commissions the service, said: “We have been working closely with the practice since the inspection, and supporting staff to drive through the necessary improvements.

“Action has already been taken in several areas and will continue over the coming months, and should result in noticeable improvements when the CQC returns.”