Doctor defends Hartlepool surgery after concerns raised over practice

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A DOCTOR has defended his surgery after his practice failed in a number of criteria during an inspection by a health watchdog.

The Mackenzie House surgery, in Kendal Road, Hartlepool, has been given a “1” rating by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) during “intelligent monitoring” of every general practice in England.

The CQC has placed each practice into bandings from one (highest perceived concern) to six (lowest perceived concern) to help plan inspections from next year.

The ratings are based on 38 indicators on whether patients at the surgery could be at “risk” or “elevated risk” depending on an indicator score and an expected target.

The ratings help the CQC prioritise its inspections and Mackenzie House will be considered for inspection from next year.

Mackenzie House was rated at elevated risk in the percentage of patients with hypertension, or high blood pressure, where their last blood pressure reading measured in the preceding nine months was 150/90mmHg or less.

It was also rated as at risk in the criteria of the percentage of diabetes patients with a record of a foot examination and a risk classification of one to four in the preceding 12 months.

Of 618 diabetic patients, only 433 had had the foot check.

The practice was also marked as at risk for the percentage of diabetics that have a blood pressure reading of 140/80mmHg or less, as the target is 150/90mmHg to be deemed a suitable pressure.
Of 632, only 389 had the preferred reading.

But Dr Carl Parker, from the surgery, said the ratings had come at a period when “quite a lot of changes” were taking place at the practice and improvements have since been made.

Dr Parker said the changes included a new appointments system to improve access, a Dr First system where patients are assessed over the phone, therefore increasing contact with 30 per cent more people, and a new computer system being implemented.

“We were high-performing for several years before that, last year was the first time we have done so badly,” he said.

Dr Parker said the surgery had taken several steps to rectify this, including employing more staff, including new doctors and three new practice nurses.
“Improvements have been made and we are contacting patients.”

He said all diabetic patients should receive a foot examination within 12 months but GP practices in Hartlepool didn’t tend to offer this as patients are treated at a “One Stop diabetic shop” at One Life Hartlepool.

Dr Parker said there were plans to bring the service back in-house.

He added: “We were fully aware of those particular things and we have therefore put things in place to get them sorted.

“We were assessed in the last year by the Clinicial Commissioning Group and found as satisfactory, before these figures became available and they are six months or more old.”

Analysis by the CQC of national practices found almost eight out of 10 appear to be of low concern.

The town’s other practices were rated sixes (of low concern), although Havelock Grange Practice and Hart Medical Practice were rated three.