GP surgery in Northamptonshire left blank prescriptions in unlocked offices

Springfield Surgery
Springfield Surgery

Staff at a Northamptonshire doctor’s surgery have been reprimanded by inspectors for exposing blank prescriptions to theft.

The Care Quality Commission spotted the transgression at Springfield Surgery in Brackley during a routine inspection that saw it rated as ‘requires improvement’, the third-best of four possible grades.

Inspectors said that thieves could have quite easily taken advantage of the security lapse.

The report says: “There was a process in place to ensure blank forms used for hand-written and computer-generated prescriptions were tracked.

“However, throughout the practice, the blank prescription forms were

stored unsecured in printers during times when the rooms were vacant and unlocked and overnight.

“There was a risk that prescription forms could be taken and used inappropriately.”

Springfield, which serves more than 9,300 people, was rated ‘requires improvement’ in two of the five main categories (safety and leadership) and ‘good’ in the other three (effectiveness, caring and responsiveness to needs).

The report pointed out two incidents where incorrect dosages of medication were given to patients.

One was in October 2014 when a lower than required dose of painkillers was handed out.

And in May 2015, another patient was prescribed too much pain relief.

Although neither patient came to harm, the CQC inspectors said no lessons had been learnt from the earlier incident.

The report said: “During our conversations with staff, many of those we spoke with were unable to clarify details of the incidents and the learning from them.

“Most staff had difficulty in locating information and documentation relating to the incidents.”

Despite the issues identified, the CQC pointed out that about 92 percent of patients were either satisfied or very satisfied with care by doctors and nurses.