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First GP practices receive ‘outstanding’ CQC ratings

The first two GP practices to be given a rating following the new CQC inspections have been rated ‘outstanding’.

Irlam Medical Practice, and Salford Health Matters, Greater Manchester, were some of the first practices to be inspected as part of the CQC’s new inspection regime which was officially rolled out on 1 October.

After an inspection, the CQC will give a practice a rating of ‘outstanding’, ‘good’, ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’.

Both the Irlam Medical Practice, and Salford Health Matters were awarded ‘outstanding’ ratings in all areas of the CQC’s inspection criteria – including if the practice is well-led, effective, caring, safe and responsive to the people’s needs, according to the CQC.

Practices that are given a rating of ‘inadequate’ will be allowed six months to improve – but if they fail to improve the practice will be placed in special measures for a maximum of six months. However, if they are still found to be inadequate, they will have their registration with CQC cancelled and/or their contract terminated by NHS England.

Pulse recently revealed that practices that are placed in ‘special measures’ will have to pay half the costs to access a 12-month pilot support programme developed by the RCGP and NHS England, which will cost them up £5,000.


How the practices received ‘outstanding’ ratings

Salford Health Matters

  • All patients requiring an appointment with a GP are seen on the day their request is made – and requests can be made at any time of the day.
  • The practice asks for feedback from patients and sends a text message to all patients following an appointment to ask about their satisfaction.
  • Communication with staff is ‘excellent.’ Staff have weekly meetings away from the workplace and are in regular communication with the chief executive.
  • Appointment length is need-specific, with longer appointments routinely offered to some patients with a learning disability.

Irlam Medical Practice

  • The CQC identified good leadership and a strong learning culture within all staff, with quality and safety being their top priority.
  • There were examples of close working partnerships with other health and social care professionals, which included care planning and a view to avoid unplanned hospital admissions.
  • Significant events are recorded and shared with multi-professional agencies.
  • The practice reaches out to the local community, with practice nurses voluntarily carrying out an annual stroke awareness clinic at a local supermarket for the last five years. All of the staff proactively follow-up information received about vulnerable patients.

Meanwhile, according to the BBC, out of the 336 GP practices inspected as part of the new regime so far – one in six patients are ‘struggling’ to book appointments and there is also concern ‘over variations in how serious incidents were reported and investigated,’ the CQC said.

The CQC’s chief inspector of general practice, Professor Steve Field, said that he aims to ‘shine a light’ on poor care, adding that good care should be celebrated as well.

Mr Field added: ‘With our new inspection regime for general practice we are shining a spotlight on poor care and celebrating the good and the outstanding when we find it. I am very pleased that our first two ratings highlight some of the outstanding care that we know exists in general practice.

‘While we are clearly in the very early stages of ratings these services and there is a long way to go before we have inspected every general practice across the country, this should send an encouraging and inspiring message to providers and to members of the public. I congratulate the staff at these practices for their hard work in making a difference for the people using these services.’

Just before the inspection regime started in October, Professor Field claimed that 200 GP practices could be closed under the new CQC inspection regime