Sleaford’s largest GP surgery is bouncing back after heavily critical Care Quality Commission inspections threatened it with removal of its licence.
A CQC report and follow up inspection over the past year had criticised elements of procedures, safeguarding, paperwork keeping and response to complaints at Sleaford Medical Group, which has 17,861 patients on its books locally.
But partner Dr Elton Pardoe said that a subsequent ‘targeted’ visit has removed the notice of closure after resolving remaining safety issues.
He said: “It reflects the hard work we have put in. It doesn’t mean we are out of ‘special measures’ as you need a full inspection, but it is a great relief for all of us.”
He said they had been assured that were now on the right track.
Dr Pardoe said: “Since the Christmas time inspection we have put in a lot of GP hours to review our systems. The inspectors tell you the problems and you have to put the system in place.
“It has been quite a rewarding experience and a lot of people have appreciated it. It has opened our eyes significantly.”
He said they had been inspected under new, more clincially forensic guidelines and so the practice is much sharper and operating at a better level, he said.
He assured patients that it is ‘business as normal’, adding: “We have put in more clinical time and used known locums. We are also recruiting to bolster our GP numbers.
“We have tried to delegate more clinical stuff to trained nurses to free up the GPs to deal with chronic, long term conditions.”
They are also offering an array of appointments to suit needs, with the introduction of minor illness nurse apopintments and a duty doctor on hand.
He said no-shows for appointments was also down as a result of appointment reminder services and anyone unhappy about explaining symptoms to the triage receptionists can ask to speak in a side room.
Dr Pardoe added: “We have been liaising very closely with the Clinical Commissioning Group who have been incredibly supportive, using some of their clinical pharmacists to rubber stamp our processes and procedures.”
He said one of the issues raised had been carried out but not documented in a way that is transparent and auditable. This has has been rectified.
Dr Pardoe said they will be working over the next few months to implement recommendations from the Royal College of GPs and that will be followed by another CQC inspection.
He said they had been asked if they wanted to continue with the Urgent Care Centre pilot, but took a considered decision to carry on. “We are heading towards seven day a week working hours and it is striking a balance between urgent care and routine appointments.”
They have revamped their system of analysing and responding to complaints and incident trends and the Practice Manager now has a clinic on a Friday to answer questions, while the patient participation group is engaging well.
A patient donated £10,000 as a thank you for care for her husband and so sliding doors at the entrance have been fitted to improve wheelchair access. They have also been looking at infection control and there will no longer be carpets in clinical rooms.
“We are looking forward to them coming then we can get the clouds lifted,” he said.