Hedgemans Medical Centre in Dagenham ‘must improve’ patient confidentiality

Hedgemans Medical Centre in Dagenham was found to 'require improvement'.

Hedgemans Medical Centre in Dagenham was found to 'require improvement'. - Credit: Archant

A GP surgery in Dagenham has been slammed after confidential conversations between patients and their doctors were overheard from a nearby waiting room.

Hedgemans Medical Centre in Hedgemans Road, has been told it “must improve” in patient confidentiality following the shocking find during an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

In a report released last week, the practice which has 5,800 patients on its books, was also rated as “requires improvement” in being caring and well-led.

However the practice was rated “good” in being safe, response to people’s needs and effective.

On the day of the inspection last August, patients said one particular GP was “not good at explaining tests and treatments and involving them in decisions about their care”, saying they would “therefore prefer not to be seen by them”.

Only 76 per cent of patients described the overall experience of the practice as good compared to the national average of 85pc. Meanwhile only two-thirds (67pc) of patients said they would recommend the centre – compared to the much higher national average of 79pc.

Staff also said translation services were not available for patients who did not speak English as a first language.

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Inspectors found there was a clear staffing structure and that employees were aware of their own roles and responsibilities. However, they also noted staff had not formally documented a recent health and safety risk assessment.

While employees felt “respected, valued and supported”, the patients’ participation group (PPG) did not meet regularly and said they had not been informed what their role was.

They also did know that practice telephone lines were now closed during lunchtime hours.

Despite this, the practice was found to be responsive to people’s needs. Practice hours had been extended from Monday to Wednesday for working patients, and there were longer appointments available for patients with a learning disability.

The provider has been asked to improve patients’ privacy and improve their health and safety risk assessment to improve the quality of services.

The surgery has been contacted for a comment.