Oxford

Oxfordshire GP out-of-hours health service staff shortages

Bicester Community Hospital Image copyright Oxford Health
Image caption Bicester Community Hospital was among six out-of-hours services inspected

An Oxfordshire NHS trust's out-of-hours service missed targets because of a shortage of GPs, inspectors have found.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) rated the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust's service "requires improvement".

In its recently-published report it said the provider achieved 82% of face-to-face consultations within two hours of assessment for urgent patients, compared to a target of 95%.

But the service was rated "good" for its patient care and responsiveness.

The November inspection focused on the Oxfordshire GP Out of Hours Service at six health centres and hospitals across the county.

  • East Oxford Health Centre, Manzil Way, Oxford
  • Witney Community Hospital, Welch Way, Witney
  • Abingdon Community Hospital, Marcham Road, Abingdon
  • Townlands Memorial Hospital, York Road, Henley-on-Thames
  • Bicester Community Hospital, Piggy Lane, Bicester
  • Horton General Hospital, Hightown Road, Banbury

Professor Steve Field, chief inspector of general practice, said overall there was "an open and transparent approach to safety" at the trust.

He added: "Patients said they were treated with compassion, dignity and... there was a comprehensive system in place to keep patients safeguarded from harm."

But he said 11 staff had not completed training in basic life support and performance standards had declined in 2016 "due to shortages of GPs and practitioners".

'Recruitment challenge'

Prof Field said: "Some risks associated with managing prescriptions and cleanliness of treatment facilities had not been identified during monitoring of the service.

"The provider had not obtained evidence of some recruitment checks and mandatory training in a timely manner."

Trust communications manager Victoria Taylor said: "The inspection, which happened some months ago, identified a number of areas for improvement, all of which have been acted upon.

"Recruitment to the service remains a challenge due to many local GPs reaching retirement age, but we are continuing our recruitment efforts.

"We are proud that the service was rated 'good' for both its patient care and its responsiveness."

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