BIRCHINGTON Medical Centre faces fresh controversy over a Facebook group where staff complained about patients and joked about a Care Quality Commission report.
The group, which has since been deleted, was "open", meaning anyone could view the content posted. Staff reportedly did not realise their comments were public.
The centre is now investigating and says appropriate action will be taken where necessary.
A post in the name of receptionist Brendan Kelsey shows a picture of the centre with the caption: "If Carlsberg did medical centre's [sic] this wouldn't be it."
The image was taken from the Facebook page of a disgruntled patient.
In response, a comment in the name of Mr Kelsey says: "I even offered to sort out [the patient's] problem but the picture still remains on his [Facebook] wall.
"Won't bother now as I guess he's proud of his primary school level joke. Not going to run around trying to get people's prescriptions or sick notes done by the end of the day or offer to call them back when their query has been answered.
"Because the people of Birchington are the opposite of L'Oréal… they're not worth it!"
A posting in the name of secretary Heather Price says: "And they [patients] wonder why they get an attitude when they come in."
One post in the name of practice nurse Amanda Jefferson contained a cartoon of a skeleton holding a telephone with the caption: "Your call is very important to us, so please continue to hold."
The cartoon appeared to be in reference to CQC findings, where inspectors noted that patients had complained about waiting times to speak with a receptionist.
The accompanying comment read: "On a lighter note of recent months I couldn't resist this one, lol. It actually made me laugh so I hope it amuses you all."
A spokesman for Birchington Medical Centre said: "The doctors and managers were totally unaware of this incident until we were contacted by the Thanet Gazette.
"We would like to offer our apologies to our patients and to the community. This is unacceptable and we will take steps to ensure such a breach of trust and confidence is not repeated.
"We have been working hard to address the concerns raised by the CQC and will continue to do so. Our patients are the reason we are here and we will continue to work with them to repair our relationship with them."
A spokesman for NHS England (Kent and Medway) said: "We are grateful to the Thanet Gazette for bringing this to our attention and we have raised our concerns with the practice and they are now investigating. Until investigations are complete we cannot comment on the specific allegations
"However, rather than make light of a critical CQC report, NHS England would always expect staff to work to make the required improvements.
"We understand that a critical inspection can upset staff. However, this should never be used as an excuse to make negative comments about patients or their local community."
The CQC report published on October 5 observed a number of problems at the surgery, including failure to carry out proper checks and a failure to act on patient complaints.
Following the investigation, an action plan was drawn up to ensure the necessary improvements were made.
Patient and parish councillor Bill Furness said: "The doctors, management and staff put their heads above the parapet and took the flack thrown at them by some of the patients, they are now doing their best to overcome these problems.
"When you put down your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter, it is there forever, what you say in haste is unlike saying it face to face, it cannot be retracted."
The members of staff who appear to have made the posts were offered the opportunity to respond but all three declined.