AN OLDHAM practice has been rated inadequate by the Care Quality Commission - having dropped two categories since its last inspection.

Oldham Medical Services in Hathershaw has been placed in special measures and told to improve after inspectors visited last month.

The CQC said the fall in rating from Good in March 2015 to Inadequate can likely be attributed in part to the practice manager leaving last November.

Debbie Yildirim, the new practice manager, started in post six weeks before the CQC visit. She said some of the issues identified by inspectors had already been addressed and she is confident the surgery can be "turned around" in the next six months.

During the visit, inspectors said they found medicines were not stored securely and there was "no focus on continuous learning and improvement at any level."

The independent health regulator said it found a "worrying trend of complaints" that were not fully investigated.

The practice based at Langham House in Ashton Road, was rated inadequate for safety and quality of leadership, and requires improvement for care, responsiveness and effectiveness.

Beverley Cole, head of general practice for the north, said: "It was worrying that since the last inspection in March 2015, the rating for Oldham Medical Services had fallen from Good to Inadequate. It is likely that this can partly be attributed to the practice manager leaving in November.

"There was a worrying trend of complaints not all being fully investigated and response letters lacking detail. It is important that is done properly so that any complaint received is investigated and any proportionate action is taken in response to any failure identified by the complaint or investigation."

There were 4784 patients registered with the practice at the time of the inspection.

Staff were praised for working together and with other health and social care professionals to deliver effective care and treatment.

Inspectors said that patients received coordinated and person-centred care, including when they moved between services, when they were referred, or after they were discharged from hospital.

However, inspectors said that the practice did not have a good safety record, improvements needed to be made in the recruitment process and rick assessments were not adequate.

The CQC said they found out-of-date vaccines and medicines that were not stored securely.

Ms Cole said: "It is important that the people who are registered with the Oldham practice can rely on getting high quality care.

"The service has been placed in special measures and will be kept under review and if needed could be escalated to urgent enforcement action, and if there is not enough improvement we will move to close the service."

Ms Yildirim said: "The practice experienced a number of issues last year. The practice is now under new management and we have every confidence that we can turn things around in the next six months.

"Some of the issues identified have already been dealt with."