A GP practice that runs two surgeries in St Helens has been told it must improve by the health and care watchdog.

Windermere Medical Centre, located at Windermere Avenue in Moss Bank, was inspected by the Care Quality Commission in February of this year.

The practice, which is run by Dr Praveen Gupta, also has a branch surgery at Sandfield Medical Centre in Liverpool Road, St Helens.

The CQC inspector visited both surgeries over the course of one day.

The practice provides NHS services through a General Medical Services contract and works closely with St Helens Rota, an out of hours GP service.

Following the inspection, the CQC said Windermere Medical Centre ‘requires improvement’ in four out of five key areas: safe, effective, responsive and well-led. It was rated ‘good’ in the caring category.

In total, the CQC said Windermere Medical Centre must improve in six areas, as well as five areas where it should improve.

This was after the inspection uncovered numerous breaches of regulations by the provider.

During the inspection, evidence was not provided to confirm that patients had given consent for minor surgery was not available.

The inspector also discovered that systems and processes to effectively prevent abuse were not established and operated.

The provider did not have a formal system or policy in place to appropriately monitor and follow-up all children who failed to attend for immunisation or appointments following referral to secondary care.

Additionally, the practice did not liaise regularly with the wider child protection services.

Issues with the complaints process also deemed to be a breach of regulations.

The CQC said the complaints process in place was not accessible to patients who did not want to make their complaint in writing.

“The complaints procedure was unclear and the response to patients who complained or who were involved in an incident did not always meet the
regulations,” the CQC report said.

“Incidents and complaints were not investigated in depth and so the outcomes did not always identify areas of learning.

“Incidents and complaints were not audited.”

In total there were five breaches of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014.

Despite the concerns, the inspector found that the practice was good at providing caring services.

The inspector found that staff involved patients in decisions about their care and the practice organised and delivered services to meet patients’ needs.

Patients could access care and treatment in a timely way, the CQC found.

A spokesman for St Helens CCG said: “The CCG has a formal process in the case of any practices being awarded a rating of ‘Requires Improvement’ by the CQC.

“We work closely with both the practice in question and the CQC and draw up an action plan which is monitored by our Quality Committee to ensure that that practice meets all the required areas for improvement.”

Windermere Medical Centre was approached for comment.