Concerns over some GP care in Calderdale

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Two medical practices in Calderdale could be placing patients at risk of harm - according to new figures released today (Tuesday) by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The commission, which is the independent regulator of all health and social care services in England, has produced the Ofsted-style league table to allow patients to check the quality of care on offer from GP practices.

The health watchdog has ranked 7,276 practices out of the total 7,661 in England, and revealed 861 practices are showing “highest concern” (Band 1) while a further 336 nationally are in Band 2, where significant concern is also acknowledged.

Whilst 18 practices across Calderdale were ranked in lowest concern bands of 5 and 6, two were placed in the highest concern categories, the CQC said.

At Queens Road Surgery, placed in the Band 1 category, inspectors said that the number of antibacterial prescriptions prescribed and the average daily quantity of hypnotic drugs prescribed was higher than expected.

They also raised concern about the treatment of patients with diabetes and said that too few patients who suffered with schizophrenia and other mental health conditions had an agreed care plan in place, while too high a number were also using alcohol.

Additionally, patients with hypertension and dementia were also seen to be at risk.

Meadow Dale Group Practice, Ovenden, was placed in the Band 2 category and inspectors said that treatment of older patients with brittle bones posed an ‘elevated risk’.

There was also no evidence of multidisciplinary case review meetings to discuss patients on the palliative care register and inspectors said that the number of patients who were often unable to see or speak to their preferred GP was too high.

Nationally, every practice was analysed against 38 indicators including the likelihood of being able to arrange an appointment, the proportion of elderly patients receiving the flu vaccine and support offered to the physically and mentally ill.

Prof Steve Field from the CQC said: “There is a lot of good and outstanding care taking place across the country as our data and recent reports show.

“While it is positive that over 80% of general practices are currently a low concern based on the available data, there is no reason for complacency and standards must continue to improve.

“It is important to remember that the data is not a judgement as it is only when we inspect we can determine if a practice provides safe, high-quality and compassionate care.

“The data is a further tool that will help us to decide where to inspect and when.”