GP allowed non-clinical staff to change medications, inspection shows

Manor Farm Medical Centre has been placed into special measures

Manor Farm Medical Centre has been placed into special measures - Credit: Google

A GP practice allowed non-clinical staff in its dispensary to change the medication some of its patients received, an inspection has found.

Manor Farm Medical Centre in Swaffham was inspected by the Care Quality Commission as part of a wider review of Norfolk and Waveney's emergency care. 

Inspectors running the rule over the practice found a number of shortcomings with the care it provided, rating it as inadequate and placing it in special measures.

One startling concern raised in the inspection was that non-clinical staff in its dispensary were making recommendations to change patients' medications - rather than the practice's GPs.

The report reads: "This posed a risk to patients as staff who had not received assessments to ensure they were competent to perform their duties and who did not hold a prescribing qualification were transcribing medicines and the dosage onto the clinical record."

Andy Brand, head of inspection of primary medical services at the CQC, said: "It was disappointing to find that standards of care and treatment provided had dropped significantly and fallen below the levels people have a right to expect.

"We found concerns that medicines weren't being prescribed safely, which put people at risk of avoidable harm.

"In addition, we found concerns relating to processes in the practice dispensary.

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"We did find that staff treated patients with kindness and respect, and that people were involved in decisions about their care, and we hope that with the right support, the service will make the necessary improvements to ensure patient safety."

Inspectors will re-assess the practice in the coming week, with bosses saying that concerns were already being addressed.

A spokesperson for Manor Farm Medical Centre said“Obviously Manor Farm Medical Centre is disappointed to have been given an inadequate rating and placed in special measures.

"The CQC report did, however, highlight that patients were treated with kindness and respect and involved in decisions about their care.

"The summary also highlighted people could access care and treatment in a timely way and how the practice adjusted to deliver services to meet the needs of patients during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The team is working closely with the CQC, NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group to make the required improvements as soon as possible.”