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What can We Learn from the Latest Outstanding Practice Ratings?

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An outstanding rating is hard won – as is evidenced by the numbers from the latest round of CQC inspections, which shows that only one of 85 GP practices achieved the top rating. With news that the next CQC inspection for practices rated as outstanding could be up to five years away, the incentive to achieve is undeniable. With this in mind, we’ve done a little information crunching and looked at the last five GP practices rated as outstanding to see why the CQC ranked them so highly.

Middleton Health Centre, Manchester

Here the CQC highlights a strongpatient centric culture with staff motivated to offer kind and compassionate care. Patients spoke about how the centre and its staff make a positive difference to their quality of life. The practice benefits from good leadership and vision, and by providing innovative solutions to build relationships with the local community. It has made appointments more flexible and lengthened appointment times, and also demonstrated a keen sense of community when dealing with older patients.

Bilbrook Medical Centre

Again the CQC highlights strong leadership and the way in which patients are treated; particularly the safeguarding of vulnerable groups such as adults at risk. Employees are supported by management, and the practice proactively seeks feedback from all stakeholders. Furthermore, the practice benefits from a focus on CPD and training of employees as well as a vision of improvement at all levels.

The CQC found that all of these factors translates into better provision of healthcare, with the practice and its staff making a real difference to patients.


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Frances Street Medical Centre

The CQC highlights the centre’s patient participation group and its educational focus that empowers patients to take greater responsibility for their treatment across a number of areas including Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancer. It also found that the centre reaches out to the community, particularly vulnerable groups, and uses innovative methods to support more vulnerable patients in their healthcare choices. Particularly noted is the way in which the practice benefits patients with specialist needs and long term medical conditions.

Once more, the CQC found the practice to be well-led and with a vision of progressing staff through training.

Caen Medical Centre

Of this practice, the Chief Inspector of General Practice said:

“I am delighted to highlight the exceptional service at Caen Medical Centre, people are entitled to services which provide safe, effective, compassionate and high quality care. The GPs and staff at Caen Medical Centre have demonstrated a real commitment to their patients. All of this hard work and dedication pays off in making a real difference for their patients – which is why we have found this practice to be Outstanding. I hope other practices will see this as a model for excellent care.”

In particular, the practice is found to work closely with other organisations in the community, with GPs holding a number of key roles in local charities that support patients. One of the GPs has started a local walking group. The practice has also reached out to the town’s younger people, and as a result runs a weekly clinic at the local secondary school.

Huntingdon Road Surgery, Cambridge

The CQC found Huntingdon Road Surgery to be well-led and effective, with a clear vision focusing on providing safe, quality care. Its strategy is reviewed regularly, and teamwork is good across all roles. Management is focused on providing support for, and access to, training and CPD.

Summing up

In all these outstanding ratings, there is evidence of consistency within the CQC inspecting regime as it focuses on four key areas of activity:

Leadership – providing clear guidance, with a strong vision encapsulating values and beliefs, and focusing on employee improvement, and involvement of stakeholder groups to improve service provision.

Community presence – providing a focal point for access to GP and patient services, involving other groups in the local area and being proactive in doing so.

Innovation that is patient focused – providing the services that are needed by local communities, and encouraging feedback and participation in setting healthcare strategy.

Employee improvement and motivation – encouraging and providing support to employees as they take advantage of CPD and focused training.

Running through all these themes, every one of these practices that has been rated as outstanding has maintained a strong and focused patient-centric approach, both responding to and being proactive in providing patient care that is needed now and in the future. 

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