Southwark GP surgery placed in special measures after ‘expired vaccines’ discovery

By Robert Firth, Local Democracy Reporter

A failing GP surgery has been put into special measures after the care watchdog found expired vaccines stored in a fridge.

The Acorn & Gaumont House Surgery in Peckham High Street, Southwark was rated inadequate following a visit by health regulator the CQC in March.

Measles, mumps and rubella vaccines which expired in January 2022 had been left in a fridge for more than two months, alongside in-date vaccines.

An inspector said the oversight was unsafe and threatened patients’ treatment and care.

The GP, which has been rated requires improvement or inadequate in every inspection since 2019, was placed into special measures. CQC documents read: “At this inspection, the storage of medicines was unsafe. There were expired medicines in the vaccine fridge which should be removed and disposed of safely.

“We found expired measles, mumps and rubella vaccines stored with in-date medicines in the same vaccine fridge. The expiry date was 01/2022. This meant patients’ treatment and care was put at risk due to inappropriate medicines management.”

Some patients complained of rude staff and said they struggled to get an appointment at the surgery in reviews on the NHS Choices website noted by the inspector. Others were more positive.

The CQC documents said: “Comments were mixed with some positive comments about staff being caring and kind. Negative comments were about difficulty getting an appointment and rude staff.”

The surgery has six months to improve or it could be closed down. Writing in a CQC report from June 13, Dr Rosie Benneyworth, chief inspector of primary medical services and integrated care, said: “I am placing this service in special measures. Services placed in special measures will be inspected again within six months.

“If insufficient improvements have been made such that there remains a rating of inadequate for any population group, key question or overall, we will take action in line with our enforcement procedures to begin the process of preventing the provider from operating the service.”

An inspector also criticised the GP surgery for failing to follow guidelines about storing medication and documents. Prescription pads were left in an unlocked cabinet, while emergency medicines were found on a trolley in a reception staff room.

CQC documents said: “The practice did not have effective measures in place to keep prescription forms secure. During this inspection, we found the prescription pads were kept in the reception area in an unlocked cabinet.

“At the time of this inspection, we saw that emergency medicines were kept on a trolley in the reception staff room and the practice had not considered how access was restricted to authorised staff.”

The Acorn & Gaumont House Surgery has been contacted for comment.

Pictured: The Acorn & Gaumont House Surgery in Peckham (Picture: Google Street View)




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