A GP surgery provider has been told it needs to make improvements by a watchdog after an inspection.

Lime Grove Surgery at Woodside Health Centre on Woodside Road, Haydock, was inspected by the Care Quality Commission.

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The Lime Grove surgery also has a branch practice at Ashtons Green Clinic in Parr.

The service was given an overall rating of 'Requires Improvement' by the inspectors who visited on September 11 this year.

The surgery was rated as requires improvement in the safety and leadership categories, while it was considered 'Good' for effectiveness, care and responsiveness.

The surgery is operated by two partner GPs and formerly had two additional GP partners but the provider "has been unable to recruit to these posts".

It has two salaried GPs and three long-term locum GPs, while two advanced nurse practitioners work at the practice employed by the local federation.

The GP partners are full-time while salaried and locum GPs are not full-time and provide varying numbers of sessions.

There is a practice nurse and a health care assistant and a clinical pharmacist is employed by an external service.

The practice also has reception and administrative staff, a practice manager, assistant practice manager and

reception manager.

It was noted the partner GPs have experienced increasing difficulty ensuring that there is sufficient clinical staff to cover both the main and branch practice.

As a result they are currently offering "a limited service to patients from the branch practice" and are in discussion with the CCG about the best ways to manage the service going forward.

Inspectors said that they based their judgement on what they found while inspecting the service, information from ongoing monitoring of data about services and information from the provider, patients, the public and other organisations.

Inspectors said the practice required improvement for safety because "the systems for ensuring staff were appropriately authorised to administer medicines to patients was not robust".

They also found systems for managing the safeguarding of vulnerable patients the system for ensuring that all the required documentation to demonstrate safe recruitment processes was "not robust".

On providing well-led services, inspectors said "improvements were needed to the systems in place to ensure safe premises, safe staff recruitment, safe authorisation of medicines and to safeguard vulnerable patients".

Inspectors noted GP partners were working "long hours" and were reviewing their skill mix to "identify how they could better meet the needs of patients".

In praising the practice's care, inspectors said: "positive comments indicated that patients considered all staff to be respectful, helpful, caring and kind" and that "patients’ needs were met by the clinicians they had seen".

They said mixed and two negative comment cards "related to long waits for booked appointments, difficulty getting through by telephone and getting an appointment".

Following the publication of the report, a spokesperson at NHS St Helens CCC said they are working to ensure the required areas of improvement are addressed.

They said: “Following the recent Care Quality Commission inspection at Lime Grove Surgery the overall rating for the surgery was that it requires improvement.

"The surgery was rated good in a number of areas such as effective, caring and responsive. Following the announcement of the rating the practice is developing an action plan within the coming weeks which will demonstrate clear milestones to improve the overall rating going forward.

"The CCG will work closely with the practice to ensure they address the recommended areas of development and the action plan will be monitored regularly over the next few months to ensure it is followed and milestones achieved.”