IMPROVEMENTS have been made at a GP surgery with 8,100 patients branded ‘inadequate’ in a critical report by health watchdogs, though there are still further steps to be taken.

The Umar Medical Centre, in Blackburn, was slated after a Care Quality Commission inspection in March and put in special measures.

Inspectors conducted a follow-up visit in July and found improvements had been made but there was still more to do.

Chief inspector of general practice, Steve Field said: “At this inspection we found the practice had made improvements to systems and processes to ensure that safety incidents were less likely to happen.

“When incidents did happen, the practice learned from them and improved their processes.

“A new protocol had been implemented to ensure incoming correspondence to the practice was managed effectively and in a timely manner.

“Staff we spoke with were aware of this protocol and their responsibilities relating to it and we saw evidence the provider had carried out an audit to ensure the new process was working as intended.

“While risk assessments had been completed around fire and legionella, mitigating actions identified as a result had not been undertaken.

“The same was found in relation to the infection prevention and control audit recently completed.

“While recruitment checks relating to locum GPs employed by the practice had improved, we found gaps in the pre-employment checks completed for three new permanent members of staff.

“The practice had made improvements around oversight of staff training and development needs and had produced an appraisal schedule to ensure staff received an appropriate appraisal in a timely manner.”

Watchdogs identified a series of problems at the medical centre in Lime Street.

They said it was inadequate for providing safe, effective, responsive and well-led services, while it required improvement for its care.

Inspectors said that patients found the appointment system confusing to use and could not always access care when they needed it.

Patients also rated the practice lower than others for many aspects of care.

Quality of care for older people, people with long-term conditions, families, children and young people, working age people, the vulnerable and mentally were all rated ‘inadequate’.

But the medical centre was praised for treating patients with kindness, respect and compassion.

The report adds: “The practice learned and made improvements when things went wrong.

“A new significant event analysis policy had been put in place in May 2018 and staff understood their duty to

raise concerns and report incidents and near misses.

“Leaders and managers supported them when they did so. There were adequate systems for reviewing and investigating when things went wrong.

“The practice learned and shared lessons, identified themes and took action to improve safety in the practice.

“The practice acted on and learned from external safety events as well as patient and medicine safety alerts.”

Nobody from Umar Medical Centre was available for comment at the time the Lancashire Telegraph went to press.