An urgent care centre in east London that was placed in special measures has seen its rating jump from “inadequate” to “good”, after a concerted effort to make improvements.
Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission rated services at King George’s Emergency Urgent Care Centre in Ilford “good” overall after an inspection in March this year.
“I am always pleased to see improvements in the care patients receive”
Previously the service, which is run by the Partnership of East London Co-operatives (PELC), had been rated “inadequate” due to safety and governance concerns including lack of equipment to assess and monitor patients and inadequate systems for learning from incidents.
Two warning notices were issued following an inspection in April 2018 and the service was placed in special measures.
However, inspectors found things had changed when they returned this spring with action taken in a number of areas.
New measures included the establishment of a monthly governance committee to learn from incidents and improve safety and a staff bulletin to share this learning.
The service had also taken steps to improve the monitoring and assessment of patients. This included ensuring appropriate clinical equipment was available, new protocols and training for clinicians on “streaming” or assessing patients.
“There was a strong focus on continuous learning and improvement at all levels of the organisation,” said the CQC’s inspection report on the unit.
It noted the service had made several changes to its senior management team including the appointment of a new chief executive, medical director, a seconded director of nursing and a new urgent care lead doctor.
Inspectors rated the service “good” for being safe, effective, responsive and well-led but “requires improvement” for being caring due to ongoing concerns about privacy.
While work had been carried out to create a dedicated space for initial patient assessments, “a privacy curtain served as a door and conversations could easily be overheard from the streaming queue,” said the report.
Inspectors said further improvements were need to the layout to protect patients’ privacy.
The service also needed to monitor how long patients waited to be seen and ensure electronic terminals designed to gather feedback on patients’ experiences were available in languages other than English.
“This is an incredible turnaround by the team achieved within the space of six short months”
Anthony Hall, the CQC’s head of inspection for primary medical services in London, praised staff for their efforts to improve the service, which has now been removed from special measures.
“I am always pleased to see improvements in the care patients receive. It is particularly pleasing when a service that was previously rated inadequate jumps to a rating of good,” he said.
He added: “Everybody involved in the hard work that made this happen at King George’s Emergency Urgent Care Centre deserves praise for turning the service around.”
The centre provides an NHS walk-in service for patients whose condition is urgent enough that they cannot wait for the next GP appointment but who do not need emergency treatment in A&E.
Brian Jones, who took over as chief executive of PELC following the previous “inadequate” report, described the result of the latest CQC visit as “fantastic”.
“We are incredibly proud of our staff and the services we provide and the CQC findings are testament to the continued determination to provide the best possible care for patients,” he added.
“This is an incredible turnaround by the team achieved within the space of six short months,” he said. “We are one of a very small number of organisations in England that have jumped from special measures to an overall of “good” in such a short space of time.”
Mr Jones said the team would “not rest here” and would continue to work hard to keep services in shape.