ELDENE Surgery chiefs have acted on watchdog warnings.

Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors visited the practice in September and October, after previous visits prompted warnings about leadership and staffing.

They found that improvements had been made – but still gave the surgery a Requires Improvements rating.

The latest visit follows an inspection in February, when the watchdog found that Eldene Surgery had inadequate leadership.

Inspectors slapped two warning notices on the surgery, telling managers that they were breaking two health regulations on staffing and governance.

When they returned in August for a follow-up inspection the CQC again flagged concerns about staffing. Two members of staff had not completed safeguarding training to an appropriate level, including one GP. There was also no evidence that a nurse reviewing diabetes care had received training in it.

The CQC visited the surgery in September and October to check whether the practice had carried out promised improvements.

Overall, inspectors gave the surgery a Requires Improvement rating. It represents an improvement on the February visit, when the surgery was rated inadequate in the “well led” category.

Professor Steve Field, chief inspector of general practice for the CQC, said: “We found the practice had made progress in achieving their improvement plan but found issues of continuing concern.”

In their inspection report, the CQC said that staff now felt better supported by managers, appropriate recruitment checks were being carried out and there was an “open and transparent approach” to safety and reporting “significant events”.

However, while updated governance policies had been put in place, these had not been “embedded” by the time of the inspection, the CQC said.

Appropriate checks of emergency medicines and equipment were not in place, they said. Blank prescriptions were not always securely stored. The lead staff member in charge of infection control “had not received appropriate training to perform this role”.

The CQC inspectors added that emergency medicines were available but not easily accessible. Kit to test blood sugar levels was out of date.

However, the practice was rated as good for “caring” – an improvement on previous inspections. The CQC said: “We observed members of staff were courteous and very helpful to patients and treated them with dignity and respect.”

Eldene Surgery has around 7,700 patients on its books. 63 per cent of patients live with a long term chronic disease, such as diabetes – significantly higher than the national average of 53 per cent.

The practice recently entered into a partnership with Integrated Medical Holdings, a company that helps manage GP surgeries. The link has brought two managerial GPs into the practice partnership, although they are not based at Eldene.

Reacting to the latest CQC report, Heather Whitehouse, patient relationship manager at Eldene Surgery, said: “Eldene Surgery is committed to the implementation of long term solutions in respect of the points highlighted by the CQC following their recent inspection.

“The practice continues to work closely with Swindon CCG to build on the steps taken so far in ensuring patients receive safe, good quality care, and is grateful for the support of its staff, the patients and the CCG in this regard.”

Eldene Surgery hit the headlines earlier this year after it emerged that a member of the surgery team was suspended – following concerns that they had worked “outside their level of trained competence”.

That suspension – of an associate practitioner – was not mentioned in the latest CQC report.