A COCKERMOUTH GP practice suffered 'catastrophic failures’ in management and governance according to its head GP, after a CQC report found failures in several areas and concluded the service ‘requires improvement’.

Castlegate and Derwent Surgery on Isel Road was inspected by the health watchdog in April, with the inspectors finding that the service required improvement overall.

A CQC report said: “There was no clear governance structure which meant systems were sometimes not reviewed.

"The practice’s governance and assurance systems were not always operating effectively."

It added that there were gaps in mandatory staff training - including regarding infection prevention and control - and some training had lapsed. It added that six out of nine patients interviewed had experienced issues with their prescriptions.

The CQC found 'breaches in regulations' and said the provider must establish effective governance systems and ensure staff receive support, training and professional development.

However, the report did also highlight that in areas of caring for patients and effectiveness the service was ‘good’ with the report saying that: "Staff dealt with patients with kindness and respect and involved them in decisions about their care."

Shortly before the report, management within the practice changed.

A GP within the practice, Dr Simon Desert, has now stepped into the role of managing partner with reduced clinical commitment, and Mrs Julie Bates is acting practice manager.

Dr Desert said: “Our practice has suffered a catastrophic failure of management and governance.

“Our CQC inspection was anticipated following our self-notification to all NHS bodies of our challenges, but it is an assessment of work required rather than completed.

"We had highlighted our areas of concern to the inspection team, and these were largely confirmed by audits carried out prior to their visit.

“Deficits where apparent are attributable to the governance of our work and not the skill, motivation or application of our people. The current team are making progress building back systems that will facilitate our work.

"Significant pressure persists in an under-funded health and social care system that is struggling to meet the standards of care to which we all aspire.

“I wish to thank all our dedicated staff and emphasise that the report did not devalue or criticise the care that they have given. It highlights how a better governed practice will enable our patients to gain greater benefit from their work.”

Dr Desert highlighted areas which he said are already improving within the surgery, such as the creation of a new partnership board which reports back to the whole practice including staff and patient representation on the governance with the practice; prescribing and medicines management; training within the practice; and events and complaints management.