The Shepherd’s Bush community may soon lose one of its most vital GP practices. Relied upon by thousands of Londoners and once esteemed with being “a welcome addition to the area”, the practice is in jeopardy of closure following recent reports.
In 2016, the ‘Medical Centre GP’ practice that oversees a majority of the metropolitan nexus of Shepherd’s Bush passed the CQC inspection with a score of “Good”. Providing reassurance to patients that they were receiving the pinnacle of British healthcare in the heart of London.
Fast forward to present day and now the surgery faces closure as it has failed inspection in the CQC October 2019 report, on multiple specified health fronts.
“it was hard travelling for healthcare, a journey perhaps easy for the youth and the blessed able-bodied, but less so for those faced with chronic pain like myself. When the GP opened for the first time I suddenly could get the support I needed right on my doorstep, it truly was a welcome addition to the area.”
Carl Sunsen, Shepherd’s Bush Local
The sole nurse of the practice, who is only available on Wednesdays, said: “We don’t follow up on any children who did not schedule vaccinations, it’s up to the parents”, suggesting that ‘anti-vaxxer’ parents are void of any repercussions for not vaccinating their children.
‘Anti-vaxxers’ are those who do not believe in the necessity or benefits of vaccination and actively regard the medical procedure , primarily concerned with preventing disease, as causing adverse and harmful effects on the body.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) consistently inspects GP surgeries to ensure they adhere to specified quality standards. The most recent findings have found the Shepherd’s Bush GP has dropped to “inadequate” standards, meaning the GP surgery located in the heart of Shepherd’s Bush now faces closure.
Why the GP has experienced such a significant and sudden drop in its quality and health inspection score since 2016 is unknown. A year after the initial 2016 CQC inspection, a further report found: “in 2017 … the provider was rated as good overall.”. Yet in 2019 the same CQC report shows:
The alarming report concluded that, “Despite its central London location the GP has only one registered part-time salaried GP, with an accompanying “four long-term sessional locum GPs” that are expected to serve 6647 patients.”
“Those are my allocated working hours; I couldn’t do more if I wanted to, at least officially obviously” the nurse said in regard to the criticism of her limited availability to patients. “Our patients come first always, I have to beilieve that … and I do”
The issues facing the practice, vital to the local area, are multi-faceted. Its apparent unintended contribution to the UK’s rising rate of unvaccinated children which has already led to the re-emergence of measles, once thought to be eradicated, is outside the GP’s direct control. Nonetheless, it’s within the control of its management directive.
However; the inability of staff being present to meet the demands of patients, significant drops in its official ratings by CQC, and a lack of providing services that are not third-party based are all crippling the GP’s quality and performance.
Its future is uncertain if changes are not made now following its unfavourable evaluation. Yet, local opinion of the practice remains positive in light of the findings. The community relies heavily on the GP’s services, many have come here for years, with it serving as the central NHS provider in the area for many.
Words: Ferris Shaw | Subbing: Hannah Wilson