Nexus Health Group, a chain of GP surgeries across Southwark that was branded “inadequate” over patient safety failings last year, has been taken out of special measures but still “requires improvement”, according to inspectors’ latest visits.
Health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) published its latest report on the provider last Thursday, January 23, after visits held on October 23 and 29 last year.
The CQC evaluates healthcare by rating specific services and wider areas of work. Action taken since damning inspections in 2018 means its sites are now considered to be good in the “caring”, “safe” and “well-led” categories; previously red flagged after breaches in regulations.
But despite showing clear progress, every service still falls short of being labelled “good” and the group has been given the overall rating “requires improvement”.
The CQC says it now needs to increase its non-clinical staff’s safeguarding knowledge, continue increasing uptake of child immunisations, bowel and cervical cancer screening, and address patient feedback. Bowel cancer screening across its sites is lower than the national average of 57 per cent, at just 41 per cent.
Inspectors highlighted that patients were treated with “compassion, dignity and respect”, there was still low patient satisfaction with the types of appointments they were offered.
The clinical Director and chair of Nexus’ executive board, Jane Doherty, who took up the role in January 2020, said: “The CQC has recognised that Nexus provides safe and effective care for our patients.
“There are good systems for managing patient test results, and that there is now evidence of shared learning from significant events across the service.
“We have established solid foundations for further improvement, and are confident we can reach better outcomes for the patient groups flagged up in the report.”
Her comments were echoed by Nexus’ chief officer, Daniela Valdes, who highlighted: “The CQC has remarked on our compassionate and inclusive approach to leadership, with staff feeling part of a whole organisation.
“This is at the core of our ‘One Nexus’ approach, which helped us centralise governance in infection control, clinical administration, quality improvement and staff records.
“We are grateful to our patients for their support, and hope they will positively reflect on our improvements in the current round of the National GP survey and help us get back to ‘good’ with their engagement and feedback.”
In March 2019 Nexus was put into special measures after inspectors branded its care as “inadequate” over staff shortages, training gaps, lack of adequate administrative systems, and expired medical equipment.
Over 1,000 test results had been left in limbo due to administration failings – 442 of these were marked as ‘abnormal’. There were also more than 4,000 outstanding clinical tasks dating back to 2017.
Nexus was warned if it did not improve within six months it could ultimately face being stripped of its care contract.
Since then it has overhauled its management and centralised its administration systems so all practices operate in the same way. Inspectors say these problems have now been rectified.
Nexus merged eight previously independent surgeries in Southwark in 2016: Princess Street and Manor Place near Elephant and Castle, Surrey Docks Health Centre, Aylesbury Medical Centre, The Dun Cow Surgery in Bermondsey and Decima Street Surgery, Commercial Way Surgery and Artesian Health Centre. In total, its practices serve more than 74,000 patients.
How Nexus has been rated by the CQC
Effective Requires improvement
Responsive Requires improvement
Overall Requires improvement
All its specific services, including those for vulnerable people, families and children, and those with poor mental health are rated as “requires improvement”.