A GP practice has been told to improve after health inspectors raised concerns over the safety of patient care.

Winchmore Hill Practice in Green Lanes was given a ‘requires improvement’ rating by health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in a report published in February.

The centre had been rated ‘good’ across the board in a previous report from September 2017.

But following an inspection in November last year, the CQC rated the surgery requires improvement in four areas and good in just one area.

Winchmore Hill Practice, which took over the management of Park Lodge Medical Centre in October 2017, currently cares for more than 17,000 patients.

During the most recent visit, inspectors found flu vaccines had been removed from their original packaging and placed into kidney bowls or baskets, against best practice guidelines.

They found the surgery missed two medication safety alerts, meaning 31 patients who had been prescribed a type of medicine to treat high blood pressure were not told of an increased risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancer.

In addition, four patients who had been given an antithyroid medicine had not been told of the increased risk of developing pancreatitis and congenital malformations.

The CQC also found the surgery did not have a system to ensure all patients who had symptoms suggesting they may have cancer were given a hospital appointment within two weeks.

Another concern raised by the CQC was the lack of an effective system to ensure regular medicines and health reviews were undertaken for elderly patients and those with gestational diabetes.

There were also “continuing concerns regarding patient experience of booking an appointment and accessing the practice via telephone”.

The CQC rated the practice ‘good’ for providing caring services after inspectors found staff dealt with patients with kindness and respect and involved them in decisions about their care.

Winchmore Hill Practice has since asked the health watchdog to review the requires improvement rating.

A spokesperson for North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “NCL CCG was notified by the Care Quality Commission of the overall rating of ‘Requires Improvement’ for Winchmore Hill and Park Lodge Practice, who both operate out of the same premises and have the same contract holders/partners.

“The partners of the practice are required to respond to the Care Quality Commission in regards to the concerns that were identified. NCL CCG will also require the partners to submit a service improvement plan which is monitored over time in line with their contract terms.

“The practice has responded as required and has asked that the CQC review the current rating. This is duly noted on the CQC’s website.

“It should be recognised however that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, practices are under immense pressure to respond to patients at risk. The CCG is therefore requiring the partners to prioritise and plan first for the management of their registered patients during this challenging time.”

A spokesperson for Winchmore Hill Practice added: “The CQC report highlighted some procedural issues which the practice has already addressed. At no point did the CQC find that any patient had come to harm. No two week wait cancer referrals were missed and the CQC found no evidence that any flu vaccine that was administered to patients was in any way unsafe.

“Patients affected by the safety alerts were contacted immediately and all of these patients chose to continue taking the medications covered by the safety alerts. The GPs and the practice team would like to thank our patients for their support in the face of the substantial challenge we face from coronavirus.”