Bethesda Medical Centre graded as Requires Improvement following CQC inspection

Bethesda Medical Centre

The Bethesda Medical Centre has been rated as Requires Improvement following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The inspection was carried out in February with the report published this month. The overall rating was Requires Improvement, a fall from the 2015 rating of Good.

Key area ratings were:

  • Safe – Requires Improvement
  • Effective – Good
  • Caring – Not inspected
  • Responsive – Inspected but not rated
  • Well-led – Requires Improvement

The Requires Improvement grading for providing safe services was due to inspectors finding that audits of infection prevention and control were not sufficient; vaccines were not always appropriately stored and monitored; the practice did not have an effective system for monitoring significant events and ensuring that actions to improve safety had been implemented and blank prescriptions were not kept securely.

The requires improvement grading for providing well-led services was due to leaders lacking oversight of some processes and failing to identify risks when those processes did not operate as intended.

Inspectors found two breaches of regulations.

However, they also found that patients received effective care and treatment that met their needs; staff dealt with patients with kindness and respect and involved them in decisions about their care; the practice adjusted how it delivered services to meet the needs of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic and staff had the training and skills required for their role.

Bethesda Medical Centre must now ensure safe care and treatment and establish effective systems and processes to ensure good governance.

The CQC said Bethesda should also:

  • Maintain an up to date safeguarding register.
  • Ensure records are kept of monthly checks of emergency equipment.
  • Ensure patients with long term conditions receive up to date monitoring, in particular those with hypothyroidism and chronic kidney disease.
  • Improve childhood immunisation rates so that the minimum 90% target is met for all five indicators.
  • Improve cervical screening rates so that the Public Health England 80% coverage target is met.
  • Develop a formal programme of targeted audit and quality improvements.
  • Continue to review patient access and ease of getting through on the phone.
  • Consider holding practice meetings that include all staff.
  • Consider holding multi-professional meetings to aid communication and enable the sharing of good practice.

The Palm Bay Avenue surgery has a patient population of about 19,600. The practice is part of a wider group of four GP practices which form the Margate primary care network.

There are four GP partners and five salaried GPs and a medical director. The practice has an acute care team with two paramedic practitioners, two nurse practitioners and a paediatric nurse practitioner.

There is a practice nurse team comprising six practice nurses and five healthcare assistants and a clinical pharmacist. The practice also has a team of care co-ordinators with three frailty co-ordinators, one community health co-ordinator and a social prescribing link worker. There are three mental health nurses that are employed via the primary care network plus a team of administration and reception staff led by the practice manager.


  1. Maybe it’s about time that staff in ALL medical centres started concentrating on things other than Covid vaccines (bookable face to face GP appointments would be a start!).

  2. dont forget they get a nice payment for all these jabs, thats why they take priorty over patients – i have forgotten who my doctor is . still the receptionists are all consultants nowadays

    • the staff are not always polite and no1 can get appointments we having to tell receptionist what our problems are this isn’t right they only receptionist no more why should they be allowed to know our personal business oh I forgot nothing is ever personal these days and they certainly not trained for dealing with mental health issues either

      • Your right Wildcat! I had a cancer scare a little while ago, and my GP arranged blood tests, after about 10 days I managed to get through to a Receptionist, and was told my tests were normal! I wrote to the practice, not Bethesda, and said I had been worried silly waiting for the results of the tests, why didn’t someone contact me when they were in, instead of me having to contact the practice! No reply of course, but then a couple of weeks later I was told I had to see my GP, and when I did he said he would refer me to a Consultant as he wasn’t happy with the tests results, Duuurh!

  3. Bethesda is utter rubbish. Three weeks to get a chat to the doc on the phone, if you can get thru and then get past the rottweilers on the guard post…It is about time the high esteem the NHS is held in is tempered with a dose of reality. It costs billions for a millions service…

    • As a matter of fact, our NHS is one of the least expensive healthcare systems in the developed world.

  4. Get past the interrogation at the desk. Haven’t seen my GP nearly 3 yrs. How can you get a diagnosis over the phone. Can never tet through on the phone and if you do get through all apps are gone. Tough luck try again next day.

  5. Ring any health service 999 or 111 or your GP and you will be triaged by trained administration staff following clinical protocols agreed by clinical staff. It is terrible how people who are doing their jobs should be subject to such derogatory comments or abuse. NHS- No excuse for Abuse.

    • Nice in theory, but doesn’t work that way in practice. It is no wonder after 2 plus years of being fobbed off & not getting appointments/callbacks that people are getting a tad annoyed. Also receptionists are not trained medical experts-so why are they making medical decisions about people’s health needs, years after the practices in meetings agreed it wasn’t appropriate?

  6. My GP left nearly 1 and a half years ago, still not been allocated a new one, and I’m disabled. Fed up of having to tell the wannabe doctors( receptionists) my private life! Waiting for my over the phone consultation to take place in 2 weeks time, probably from yet Another doctor who does not know me.Also suddenly stopping my controlled meds over Christmas- receptionist knew best!Patients who just raise their voice ever so slightly is classed as abusive behaviour but it’s ok for the reception lot do it? Too many patients for one surgery- I could go on but what will these comments actually achieve? Same old same old! BUGGER ALL

  7. From my observations treatment and care of patients in a care home was not good and the pandemic a reason to not really care. My partner died from a condition that should have been monitored and caused his death. Not only did his GP not check this but worse still wrote a stereotypical guess at cause of death, and only when I refuted this with the coroners office was a post-mortem performed immediately but my suspicions of the cause of death confirmed. The condition wasn’t even mentioned by the GP concerned at Bethesda. Distressing and inexcusable. If Bethesda or the CQC wish to contact me I will provide them with the evidence.

      • Thank you Peter.
        I am only recently able to reflect on what was a very difficult period without feeling desperately sad for my former partner dying alone and the many others who languished in enforced isolation in residential care contexts during the Pandemic.
        Sure, create protection through managed infection control but not at the exclusion of the essential and desperately needed regular face to face contact with family and friends.

  8. Whilst sitting in reception awaiting your appointment it is interesting to listen to the telephone calls going on and the questions being asked of the patients by staff, even more interesting is the recommendations the staff give the patient. Surely patients sitting in reception shouldn’t be able to overhear private conversations and triage questions and answers repeated by staff. I bet the CQC had not picked up on that !

    • The same happens at A&E-you have to shout your details through the screen at reception & then do triage with random other members of the public right next to you-because there aren’t enough seats free/because it is disorganised chaos there.

  9. I recently used Bethesda & although i had to wait on the phone for a while i saw a gp quickly. I am okay with that.

  10. Clearly people are not understanding how the system works.
    You are not triaged by reception, they take your details to assess what team your issue is put forward to, new problem or long term problem. This actually frees up doctors time to deal with real issues rather than old ladies who want a social visit.
    If they sound uncaring to you, it’s probably because they’ve had to deal with idiots like yourself all day long telling them how to do their job!

    • Wrong, there are minuted meetings online from surgeries locally in the past saying how receptionists triaging isn’t working, yet they carry on doing it.

      People are not idiots for wanting medical help from their medical practice when they have medical issues, nor is it just old grannies wanting a chat because they feel lonely & most don’t tell people how to do their job either.

      The attitude of many of those who answer the phones-after you have held on waiting for 20-40 minutes for them do so, is that you are a bloody nuisance for phoning them & to act as guard dogs to stop you getting any help-which is often what gets peoples backs up. After all what is the point of having an NHS, people paying into it all their lives & then not being able to see a doctor or have to wait weeks/months to do so? That is why people end up going to A&E.

  11. The worst surgery I have ever had to deal with. The biggest problem being the reception staff, once you get to actually speak to one of them.
    I use this surgery for my in-law, which I have to deal with quite a lot. For myself and my family, I use the Broadstairs medical centre, who I cannot praise enough.

  12. I stuffer with mental health and I fear going out I have been waiting for call since COVID feel very let down still no joy with appointment

  13. Been with these the last few years havent seen a doctor at all in that time it’s all telephone consultations and you are on hold for at least 45 minutes to an hour each time. Asked for pain relief and some sleep assistance as my hip arthralgia and crohn’s was so bad. Got told by a locum doctor to take magnesium.

  14. Wow, just 24 hours after this article appeared I needed to get an appointment to review my treatment tests and approached reception with trepidation – gone were the mandatory masks, gone were the threatening notices of excommunication if you weren’t happy with the buck passing reception and behind the counter was a very professional young lady with impeccable training and attitude which set me back in my pre organised defencive arguments when she listened to my request and immediately arranged a timed and dated phone appointment for a few days time and deflated me completely by asking if there was anything else I needed and when I mentioned a relevant problem responded with a next day face to face appointment!

    Whatever has been put in place by whom ever, I can only say thank you for restoring Bethesda to its rightful standing in the community.

  15. This is just typical of the general practitioner side of the NHS these days and in recent years. Do you realise that for every person registered at a practice the practise is paid an amount annually, even if you do not darken their door. Yet they(especially the receptionists) (who are not medically trained to ask why you are calling) do their best to fob you off to 111/999.this is surely misappropriation of funds. Having recently needed treatment and being fobbed off by my GPS. I needed hospital care. Probably as the GPS kept me waiting so long the diagnosis is now worse. So I personally would like the funds to be redirected from GPS to emergency care.

  16. If you think your surgery is bad you should look at the reviews for dashwood medical centre. They are beyond bad and even intervention from the local member of parliament has had little effect

  17. i think the grange practice takes the prize for the worst anywhere , its beyond belief what goes on there, the attitude of the idiots working there would never be tolerated in any other institution.

    • Been to all the local GP practices, “real world”? If not, then why do you think the Grange is the worst “anywhere”, or even just in Ramsgate?

  18. I’ve have nothing bad to say about Bethesda. Over the many years I have been under them I have received excellent care and been under the same Dr.

    I use the e-consult system to book non emergency appointments as it saves having to call them. With over 19,000 people registered you can understand why the phones can be busy so people should exercise a bit of patience and empathy for the staff.

  19. Apart from occasional long phone waits (leave it on speakerphone, and have something to get on with while you’re waiting), I have never experienced the negative responses related by some about GP’s and staff.
    I have only been on their books for about 40yrs, so maybe this is just beginners’ luck.
    I notice that CQC didn’t rate ‘Caring’ this time; in my experience, cqc are a necessary but usually ineffectual and often pointlessly harmful organisation. Accountability is important, but cqc don’t have the discernment, nor discretion to really raise standards – just tick-box exercises for their employees.

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