Wigan GP surgery in special measures over excessively high drug prescriptions

The surgery
The surgery

A Wigan GP surgery found to be prescribing high levels of sleeping tablets and painkillers, has been put into special measures by inspectors.


High Street Medical Centre, in Golborne, has been rated “inadequate” by the Care Quality Commission after inspectors found major concerns including alarmingly high prescriptions of sleeping pills and painkillers.

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The Kidglove Road practice, which currently serves more than 4,700 patients, has six months to make improvements or it could risk being closed down by authorities.

Of the five areas of inspection which check if the service is safe, caring, effective, responsive and well-led, four were found to be inadequate and the fifth - “caring” - required improvement.

The surgery, led by Dr Abu Anis, had faced previous criticism following an inspection in 2017 when it was told to make improvements.

However inspectors found in the most recent review, that not only had some of their suggestions not been taken on board, more problems had arisen in the meantime.

One of the major concerns highlighted was the lack of reviews with patients regarding their medication, leaving many on potentially harmful or addictive drugs with no proactive follow up appointment.

The report states: “The practice was the highest prescriber of hypnotic medicines across the CCG but there had been no search of patients undertaken since May 2018.

“The practice was the highest prescriber of Tramadol, a painkilling medicine, across the CCG (62 practices). There had been no consistent processes put in place to review patients it was all done opportunistically.

“For example, a review would take place when a patient attended for an unrelated appointment.”

Inspectors also raised concerns about “out of date” medicine and emergency equipment supplies.

The report adds: “The benzylpenicillin held on the emergency trolley was out of date, as was single use plasters and the spare battery for the defibrillator.”

The surgery’s delay in relaying test results also caused concerns for the CQC. This included test results not being looked at in a timely manner once they had been received by the practice and an ad hoc system to recall for patients.

In one case, there were results that had been at the practice for two weeks and no action had been taken.

Patients concerns’ were reflected in the GP patient survey, which revealed “below average” areas both nationally and within the CCG.

However all of the 27 comment cards reviewed by inspectors were “positive” in nature.

Auditors added: “Patients reported that the appointment system was easy to use.

“The practices GP patient survey results were below local and national averages for questions relating to access to care and treatment.

“Whilst the practice had discussed the results from the annual national GP patient survey it still had not put an action plan together to address these.”

Management at the Dr Anis and Anis High Street Medical Centre were found to have breached two regulations 20 times in total.

They will now have six months to improve or face closure.

Dr Tim Dalton, chairman of NHS Wigan Borough CCG, said: “It is important to us that all patients in the borough can access good quality GP services.

“It is clear from the CQC inspection that significant improvements need to made at this practice within the next six months.

“We are offering the practice additional help and support so they can immediately start to address the concerns raised by the CQC and offer care to their patients at the standard we all agree should be available to everyone.”