A GP practice slammed for not treating complaining patients with 'respect or courtesy' has plunged into special measures. Primary Care Centre, in West Bromwich, has been handed an inadequate rating after inspectors discovered a raft of failings.

Patients on high-risk medicines were not monitored regularly, prompting 'concern' from the health watchdog. Surgery staff also 'lacked empathy or respect' when patients complained, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said.

Now the practice - also known as Dr Haque's Practice, based on High Street - has been placed into special measures. It means it will be inspected again within six months and risks being shut down if it does not improve.

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Inspectors found a number of breaches of legal requirements when they carried out an announced inspection at the practice, in High Street, on August 17. This was the first inspection CQC carried out since the practice changed providers.

It was rated inadequate in four categories - safe, effective, caring and well-led - while it was given a 'requires improvement' rating for being responsive to people's needs. The inspection revealed the practice - which delivers general medical services to about 3,100 people - did not have 'appropriate' systems in place to safely manage medicines.

There was an 'ineffective' system for managing safety alerts, which meant actions to ensure patients were told of potential risks with certain medicines were not in place. Patients on high-risk medicines were not monitored 'appropriately', while some were not receiving the necessary reviews.

Improvements were also needed to the way patients with long-term conditions were reviewed, while safeguarding registers were not accurate. Inspectors said they also found examples of where the practice - run by Dr. N U Haque & Partners - had 'lacked empathy or respect' when patients had complained.

A report from the CQC read: "The provider was unable to demonstrate they complied with the relevant safety alerts issued by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Personnel records showed staff immunisation status was not recorded and no risk assessments had been completed to identify potential risks to patients or staff."

Inspectors did find that appropriate standards of cleanliness and hygiene were met, staff were trained to 'appropriate levels' and receptionists were aware of what to do if a 'deteriorating' patient came to the surgery. Primary Care Centre declined to comment.

Andy Brand, CQC deputy director of operations in the Midlands, said: "When we inspected Primary Care Centre, we found a GP practice that wasn’t performing to the required standards to ensure local people were getting the service and treatment they deserve. We identified widespread shortfalls across the service including the assessment of risk, management of medicines, safeguarding, and governance.

"It was concerning that people on high-risk medicines or those with long-term conditions weren’t monitored or reviewed regularly which placed them at risk of harm. We saw alerts on people’s records to inform the clinical team that a review was required, however these hadn’t been actioned.

"The practice had an ineffective communication system meaning the outcome of any incidents hadn’t been shared with the practice team to mitigate future risk and learn from any errors. In addition, all providers must handle complaints efficiently and investigate them properly.

"On reviewing the complaints received we found complainants had not been treated with respect and courtesy which is unacceptable. We will continue to monitor the service closely to ensure significant improvements are made.

"If we are not assured people are receiving safe care, we will not hesitate to take further enforcement action to ensure people are receiving the high standard of care they deserve."