Surgery rated as good by health inspectors

Harbottle Surgery.
Harbottle Surgery.

Objectors fighting to save a village surgery which has had some services reinstated following a sudden closure in August have welcomed a positive report by health inspectors, claiming it proves the site’s importance to the community.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has recently published the findings of its latest inspection of Harbottle Surgery, giving the facility an overall rating of good.

The visit was carried out on July 28 – exactly a month before the surgery closed its doors after Dr Rina Miah took the sudden decision not to continue with her contract and was unable to provide GP cover for the surgery. NHS England shut the site at the end of August, but have reinstated some services at the facility for some patients for an initial period of 12 months.

A spokeswoman representing users of the surgery said: “This isolated, rural community will be delighted to hear that the CQC has awarded an overall rating of good and recognised what we already knew, that this was a good, well-equipped surgery site with accessible facilities.

“The practice satisfactorily demonstrated to the CQC that stand-alone surgeries can be successful and it is welcome to see clear documentation within the report that recent reviews of patient needs indicate that the Harbottle site required at least four GP sessions and five nurse sessions each week, proving that the interim provision put in place falls well short at two sessions of each per week.”

Objectors say the report raises questions, including the timing of events. The report states that, at the time of the visit, staff were working with NHS England and the local clinical commissioning group to ensure the practice could continue to offer the services it currently provided and the GP provider was taking steps to secure a long-term locum GP. The spokeswoman said: “This all sounds so positive, so why did it all come crashing down within weeks?”

At a meeting earlier this month, Dr Craig Melrose said NHS England received a letter from Dr Miah on July 24 saying she was intending to terminate the contract. The spokeswoman points out that this was before the inspection.