Review into Downham Market Health Centre concludes

A review into a Norfolk GP practice has concluded there was "a serious deficiency in safe general practice".

Downham Market Health Centre should have been regarded as "high risk", the review commissioned by the NHS East's chief nurse Ruth May said.

The independent report looked at the centre prior to April 2011 after four serious incidents, the suspension of two salaried GPs and a patient death.

NHS East of England board members will hear its recommendations on Thursday.

The report, which investigated the centre from March 2010 and March 2011, said the practice was "allowed to slip beneath the managerial radar" of both NHS Norfolk and Norfolk Community Health and Care.

'Patients at risk'

The review panel looked at the clinical and organisational arrangements before the surgery was taken over by local general practice provider Vida in April.

South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said the report did not go far enough.

She said: "It's revealed that incidents were allowed to go on for quite some time and that patients were put at risk. I think that is appalling.

"My concern about the report is that it doesn't identify any of the individuals who ought to be held accountable either at NHS Norfolk or at the Norfolk Community Health and Care Trust."

An action plan has been prepared on the recommendations and will be overseen by the offices of Ruth May and Professor Robert Harris, NHS East of England's director of commissioning and performance.

Paul Cracknell, Norfolk Community Health and Care's acting chief executive, said: "We fully accept the findings of this independent review and acknowledge that the management of Downham Market Health Centre was at times not up to the very high standards that our patients have a right to expect from our services."

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