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Single-hander crowned GP of the year after turning ‘red-rated’ practice around

A single-hander GP in Nottinghamshire has won Pulse’s GP of the Year award for completely turning around a struggling practice under very challenging circumstances.

Dr Karen Brown won the prize at a glittering ceremony in central London last night and was praised for ‘dramatically improving’ standards at her practice and patient care.

Before Dr Brown took on the role of GP principal in July 2016, the Jacksdale surgery had previously been ‘red rated’ by its CCG in June 2015 and rated ‘requires improvement’ by the CQC for its infection control standards.

But after Dr Brown undertook  full refurbishment of the practice funded by herself, the practice has now strengthened infection prevention and control management structures, and has been given a clean bill of health by CCG and CQC inspectors.

As part of her overhaul of the practice, she employed an advanced nurse practitioner to take on consultations, increased the number of telephone consultations and signed up to the minor injuries local enhanced service.

As well as becoming fully compliant with required standards, these changes have resulted in the practice doubling its QOF points, increasing its patient list and a decreasing A&E activity – to the extent it has achieved the lowest A&E percentage within the local area.

Following the improvements made by Dr Brown, it has been reported that staff morale is at its highest, and that the staff enjoy work and feel valued at the practice. The working day at the practice is more effective as there is more organisation and staff understand what is expected of them.

Dr Karen Brown

Dr Karen Brown

Pulse editor Nigel Praities – who was one of the judges of the award – said: ‘Single handed GPs are often unfairly maligned, but Dr Brown has done an absolutely brilliant job in getting her surgery up to scratch and is well deserving of this award. She is a shining example of GPs up and down the country who are keeping their practices running, often in very difficult circumstances.’

A statement by the Mansfield and Ashfield CCG Primary Care Team said: ’Dr Brown became the single handed contract holder to the GMS contract following the retirement of long term partner Dr Rajah.

’There’s been significant investment into the premise which is noticeable in the reception area, clinical areas and throughout the premises. Prior to Dr Brown taking on the contract the building was in need of investment to refresh the appearance which makes the patient experience and access to primary care more positive overall.’

Nikki Hughes, the prevention and control matron at NHS Mansfield and Ashfield CCG said: ’I visited Jacksdale Practice to carry out a routine infection prevention and control audit, where it was identified that standards were poor and the building and environment were not satisfactory.

’Dr Brown… has made significant improvements to both infection prevention and control standards to address the issues raised in the audit and to the building and environment. The practice has improved dramatically in all areas including patient care.’ 

Other winners at the General Practice Awards included Professor Aneez Esmail who won the Lifetime Achievement Award for his work battling against racial discrimination in the NHS and Dr Pippa Le Page won the Pulse GP Trainee of the Year prize.