CQC Intelligent Monitoring Report: 1– 567696001
For Oakwood Surgery — November 2014
The commission, which is the independent regulator of all health and social care services in England, has produced an Ofsted-style league table to allow patients to check the quality of care on offer from GP practices. A newspaper article on 19.11.2014, portrayed many practices in an unfair light and may cause unnecessary worry and anxiety to many patients.
General Practice is very much at the heart of the NHS and enjoys high satisfaction rates from patients and this selective reporting is potentially damaging to the GPs and their staff that devote their careers to serving their populations.
We would like to respond to the various news stories about the publication of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) Intelligent Monitoring (IM) of GPs tool.
We are disappointed that the recent press reports about the quality of our practice are taken from a source that declares “…this isn't a judgment on GPs. The profiles bring together information that helps us make decisions about inspections.”
By no means does this arbitrary rating of our practice reflect the quality of the services that we provide and we are anxious that our patients are not caused any undue distress or concern where it is not warranted. We are always keen to learn about how we can improve our services and await an inspection from the CQC and are aware that they have set themselves a target to inspect ALL practices by April 2016.
Our team of GPs, other clinicians and administrative staff are dedicated to provide the best quality service to our patients.
Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of General Practice, is also quoted as saying: “It is important to remember that the data is not a judgment as it is only when we inspect we can determine if a practice provides safe, high-quality and compassionate care. The data is a further tool that will help us to decide where to inspect and when.”
Oakwood Surgery was placed in Band 2, with Band 1 representing the highest priority (thus requiring a visit sooner).
The good news is that no clinical areas were rated as raising any concern.
However the GP IM’s rate, placed Oakwood Surgery in Band 2, for the following non-clinical reasons:
1. Elevated risk: The proportion of respondents to the GP patient survey who stated that in the reception area other patients can't overhear (01/07/2013 to 31/03/2014)
2. Risk: The proportion of respondents to the GP patient survey who stated that they always or almost always see or speak to the GP they prefer. (01/07/2013 to 31/03/2014)
3. Risk: The proportion of respondents to the GP patient survey who described the overall experience of their GP surgery as fairly good or very good. (01/07/2013 to 31/03/2014)
4. Risk: The percentage of patients who gave a positive answer to 'Generally, how easy is it to get through to someone at your GP surgery on the phone?'. (01/07/2013 to 31/03/2014)
Oakwood surgery is committed to making improvements where ever possible and practical. Indeed measures have already been taken. Some of these are as follows:
1. As we are not able to change the design of building, we can offer patients the opportunity to talk about their matters, where it is more conducive to talk privately. Our receptionists do their best to identify when a patient needs more privacy and we also have a sign on the front desk, encouraging patients to ask for privacy, when needed.
2. Ideally we would want patients to be able to have continuity of seeing the same GP or at the very least to see GPs of their choice. However with increased demand for GP appointments and national shortage of GPs, this can not always be offered. Having said that, we do try to provide an appointment with a GP of choice wherever practically possible. When GP’s request a follow up appointment, following a consultation, we offer the facility to book or arrange these appointments with the same GP, to maintain continuity of care when clinically necessary.
3. We would agree that there could always be room for improvement.
4. Admittedly, we do receive a large volume of incoming calls, particularly between the hours of 08h30 and 09h00 and with 10 in-coming lines, we do all we can to answer these calls as swiftly and as efficiently as possible. The practice has recently recruited more personnel for reception, which provides more staff to deal with incoming phone calls, as well as freeing up staff to attend to patients face to face. The practice had also installed a new telephone system (just prior to the GP patient survey) which is an improvement on the previous one.
In conclusion, a response from our Local medical Council
Chris Locke, Chief Executive of Nottinghamshire LMC, said: “General practice across the UK is suffering unprecedented pressures at present due to a combination of rising patient demand (in common with the rest of the NHS) and falling recruitment. The regime by which practices’ performance is judged, fails to take the effect of these pressures into account. This year there was a 40% vacancy rate for the GPs vocational training scheme in the East Midlands. In future we would welcome the publication of good news stories that occur every day in general practice.”
For access to the published GP IM report, may we refer you directly to the CQC link?: http://www.cqc.org.uk/content/our-intelligent-monitoring-gp-practices