Hampshire & Isle of Wight

'No GPs on duty' at Isle of Wight NHS walk-in service

St Mary's Hospital Image copyright Google
Image caption The walk-in service at St Mary's Hospital is set to close during working hours from July

A troubled health trust has been ordered to improve its walk-in service after inspectors found it sometimes had no GPs available to see patients.

The Isle of Wight NHS Trust, which was placed in special measures in April, put walk-in patients at risk, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said.

The service, at St Mary's Hospital in Newport, has already been earmarked for closure during working hours from July.

Island NHS commissioners said it was "poor value for money".

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The CQC, which visited in March, said the service provided by the walk-in centre was "not effective, well led or as safe as it should be".

Inspector Ruth Rankine said: "In particular we found there were gaps in staffing; on some occasions there were no GPs available to see patients who needed medical advice and there were not always enough reception staff.

"This placed a risk to patient care and the overall running of the service."

Image caption Karen Baker resigned as the trust's chief executive in March

In October, the trust took over the service from a partnership with island GPs due to a shortage of doctors and "rising costs".

At the same time NHS commissioners advised patients to visit other services first for urgent care.

The CQC said as a result the number of daily patients had fallen to 18 in January compared with 54 a year previously.

Rating the service as "requiring improvement", it said the trust had breached regulations on staff numbers and training.

In March, commissioners approved the closure of the service from July between the hours of 08:00 and 18:30 BST, because of staffing and cost issues.

It advised patients to dial the non-urgent healthcare phone line, 111, which the CQC has rated as "good".

The trust has been approached for comment.

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