A GP practice in Oxford has been deemed inadequate and must improve or may face closure as health inspectors revealed that hundreds of patients were prescribed medicines unsafely.

Watchdogs from the Care Quality Commission group downgraded the services at the Botley Medical Centre from 'requires improvement' to 'inadequate' after damning findings.

An official report published last week identified 'extensive' concerns about the lack of training of staff, the maintenance of clinical records and medications, and revealed that patients there are at 'risk of harm'.

The practice has now been rated inadequate for being safe and well-led, requires improvement for being effective and good for being caring and responsive.

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During the CQC's last inspection in October 2019, inspectors identified the monitoring of high risk medicines was not appropriate.

At this inspection, the watchdog found significant risks to patients, with at least 372 of them being given prescriptions unsafely., including for conditions like mental health conditions and blood clotting.

Inspectors also discovered that a fridge filled with vaccines was turned off, however, none of the compromised doses were administered.

The report also revealed that staff members were not trained on safeguarding policies for vulnerable adults and children.

It said: "Two out of three members of the reception team we spoke with were not provided with safeguarding adults or children training.

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"There was a risk non-clinical staff did not understand the practice’s safeguarding protocols or have the understanding to identify indicators of potential abuse and how to report any concerns."

Dr Rosie Benneyworth, who inspected the practice, said: "I am placing this service in special measures.

"If insufficient improvements have been made within six months 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.

"This will lead to cancelling their registration or to varying the terms of their registration within six months if they do not improve."

Dr Benneyworth confirmed that the service will be kept under review and if needed could be escalated to urgent enforcement action.

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Dr Aintzane Ballestero, senior partner at the Botley Medical Centre, said that partners and staff members are 'disappointed' with the CQC’s findings.

They added: "We want to reassure our loyal patients we are committed to making significant improvements as quickly as possible.

"We will work closely with our transformation partner and Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group to improve our procedures and processes and we are following the detailed action plan which has been agreed.

"We are also grateful for the support of our Patient Participation Group."