PATIENTS at Eldene Surgery are being put at risk of harm because the necessary systems to keep them safe are not in place, according to a highly-critical report by the Care Quality Commission.

The Colingsmead surgery was inspected in February after the CQC identified issues on their last visit in January last year.

But on returning, they found other areas of concern and gave the surgery an overall rating of ‘requires improvement’.

In the report, the CQC said: “Patients were at risk of harm because systems and processes were not in place to keep them safe. For example, the practice had not ensured appropriate checks had been carried out on staff employed by a subcontractor providing services which included visiting patients in their own homes.

“The patients' paper-based records were not kept adequately secure.

“Specifically, confidential on the receptionist computer screen at the front desk could be seen by patients using the self-check-in screen and patients' paper records were kept in an upstairs room which was not secure from patients attending an adjacent service.

"Their staff were based in the practice office but had not signed a confidentiality agreement.”

Eldene Surgery currently has around 7,700 registered patients but, despite rating the surgery as good in terms of their effectiveness, the CQC found their leadership to be inadequate and told staff they must improve within the next six months or face being put into special measures.

The report added: “The practice told us they had a clear vision to deliver high quality care and promote good outcomes for patients. However, we did not find this to be the case.

“Not all staff had received the essential training appropriate to their role such as safeguarding, mental capacity and infection control. There was a lack of confidence in the management structure and staff told us they did not feel supported by them.

"Staff did not always raise concerns and were not always taken seriously or treated with respect when they did.”

Eldene Surgery said: "We can confirm that the Care Quality Commission has rated Eldene Surgery as requires improvement.

"We wish to reassure patients that we are working to address issues highlighted in the report, and will continue to work with our Patient Participation Group (PPG) and practice team.

"An action plan to address the CQC Report findings at the surgery is being put in place.

"We have begun to review our systems and processes at the surgery, and will work to improve the practice to the highest levels and offer additional staff training. We are confident this will be completed before our next CQC visit.

"We’re pleased that the CQC recognised that our services are effective and patient outcomes are in line with the national average and clinical audits demonstrated quality improvement."

It said patients will continue to be involved in decisions about care and treatment as it worked "to improve your GP practice to reach high standards of care across all areas."