South Londoners have thrown their support behind a GP surgery under special measures, claiming it was “hit by the Covid pandemic like a tsunami”.

Trinity Medical Centre on Balham High Road was rated “inadequate” by the health watchdog in February, meaning it must make improvements or it could face closure.

A petition from locals worried about the surgery’s future has gained hundreds of signatures since being created this week.

The petition says the practice, which has around 8,100 patients, was “in the middle of a big management and staff changeover” at the time of the inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in October 2021.

The practice was reinspected in July, with the results yet to be published.

The petition says: “The surgery has over 8,000 patients.

"Other local surgeries do not have the capacity to help them all if [Trinity Medical Centre] is closed down.

"So many people, young and old, will struggle to find a new doctor.

"They will have to start from scratch instead of having a doctor who knows them and their medical history inside out.

"Please save our medical centre. We need them.”

More than 600 people have signed the petition so far.

It comes after the watchdog gave the surgery the lowest possible rating after an October inspection which found people with urgent referrals for suspected cancer had not been “appropriately followed up”, according to CQC documents. 

Inspectors also found a bin in a clinical room “overflowing with syringes” while staff said they had not seen “any clinical waste collection in recent months”.

Inspectors said staff had not completed all recommended training and that not all patients’ medical records were accurate and up-to-date.

Patients also raised concerns about appointment times at the practice, according to the watchdog.

CQC documents said: “During the inspection we saw evidence that patients were being called by their GP late into the evening and at night.

"Clinical staff told us that due to their workload they were not able to call patients that had requested a call during surgery opening hours.” 

The documents said staff “mostly treated patients with kindness, respect and compassion” but that patient feedback also indicated “some staff were rude, disorganised and inefficient”.

The documents added: “Staff feedback indicated that staff turnover was high due to their suggestions for improvements and opinions not being listened to and staff had been signed off from work due to stress because of the working atmosphere in the practice.”

The practice was rated “good” in a previous CQC inspection in 2017.

The surgery underwent a change in partnership before the latest inspection.

The CQC report said there had been “additional, significant changes to the partnership and staffing of the practice”.

A CQC spokesperson said: “We inspected Trinity Medical Centre last year and found it was not meeting standards people have a right to expect.

"This led to us rating it inadequate and placing it in special measures.

“Following that inspection, we communicated our findings to the provider of the service so its leaders were clear about what improvements were needed, and we published a report on our website.

"We inspected the practice again in July to assess whether improvements have been made.

"Our latest findings will be published in due course.”

Trinity Medical Centre has been contacted for comment.