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Out of the 150 or so GP practices inspected by CQC so far, a number have failed to fully meet the standards inspected and have been issued with enforcement notices. There are all sorts of issues here, but the first one ought to be one of attempting to be fully compliant. Here are just a couple of examples from the CQC inspection reports, and if they set alarm bells ringing then it may be that you have some work to do.
`We looked at the flooring in the practice and found the vinyl flooring in the treatment room required replacing as it was torn in places which meant there was an infection control risk as it could not be cleaned effectively. One consulting room was carpeted. The reception area was carpeted.` This was highlighted as a failure to meet Outcome 8 (People should be cared for in a clean environment and protected from the risk of infection). The best thing to do if your flooring is in similar condition is to record this in the Risk Register and have a rolling plan in place. However, then you need to stick to the timetable. It would be a `double whammy` if the record said you`d do it by July 2013 and it was still there in October!
The next one just goes to show that it`s easy to miss something which may be obvious to someone else. A recent inspection considered there was a failure to meet outcome 10 (People should be cared for in safe and accessible surroundings that support their health and welfare). Work had been performed to improve access to the main building of a practice, including ramps and handrails. However, an annex still had steps. This, in itself, wasn`t a problem because people with difficulty using these were offered consultations in the main building. However, the inspection found that there wasn`t a canopy over the steps and that in wet weather they were considered to be potentially a slip risk. We really need to be taking a sideways glance at things when performing a risk assessment.
Every now and then it`s worth looking at the CQC inspection reports, as they inform your own practice and you can pick up hints on how to avoid future problems. It`s a frightening thing to do at first, like the first time you jump in the deep end of the swimming pool, but it`s the best way of finding the confidence to swim.
Dr John Shapter – QCS Expert GP Contributor