‘Services improving’ at Chesterfield GP

editorial image

A Chesterfield GP practice which was criticised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for providing a poor service and potentially placing patients at risk said plans are in place to improve services.

Yesterday (Tuesday 18) the DT reported how the Grange Family Health Centre, in Stubbing Road, was deemed to be creating an ‘elevated risk’ to patients in five of 38 monitoring categories, with ‘risk’ recorded in a further five.

Dr Nadine Kale from the Holywell Medical Group which runs the practice - along with Holywell House in Chesterfield, Barrow Hill, Inkersall and Rectory Road in Staveley - the CQC Intelligent Monitoring Report was based on data collected remotely rather than an inspection visit.

The senior GP said that those areas which had been red-flagged by the CQC related to concerns over than the patient experience, rather than clinical risk.

“We were recently visited by a CQC inspection team and, although the report has not yet been published, the verbal feedback to us is far more positive than this data would suggest,” she said.

“I am pleased that the provision of clinical care was found to be good although we obviously need to address communication with some patients regarding decisions about their care plans.

“Otherwise, the core criticism in this report focuses on patients’ views about the ease of contacting the surgeries and getting an appointment with the clinician of their choice.

“We know that this has been an issue which we are addressing as part of our development plan and in consultation with our patient participation group.

“Progress is already being made with patients now able to book appointments online. Our new telephone system is due to go live at the end of this month.

“Coupled with the recruitment and training staff to handle calls, the new system will greatly alleviate these issues and we are confident that patients will see improvements in a very short space of time.

“I appreciate patients’ disappointment if they are not able to see a GP or nurse practitioner of their choice. Like many practices throughout the UK – we are finding it difficult to recruit health professionals to replace those who have retired or relocated.

“We are working with other organisations locally to look at innovative solutions to recruitment in this area. This will help to improve the range of appointments available, and to improve patient choice.”

“I am confident that the developments already in place and in the pipeline will greatly improve the access and accessibility of health services for patients in the Chesterfield and Staveley areas.”

Patients criticised both doctors and nurses for not involving them in key decisions about their care, or for not showing enough concern during the care process.

The practice was also slammed for the overall patient experience, while the vast majority of those surveyed said they had extreme difficulty getting though to the practice.

Concerns were also raised about patients not being able to see their preferred GP or get an appointment when they needed one.

Around the East Midlands, 48 practices were put in the ‘highest concern’ Band 1, with a further 28 practices placed in Band 2.

A total of 24 practices in the region were placed in Band 3, 43 in Band 4 and 82 in Band 5. A total of 345 practices were placed in Band 6 - presenting the lowest risk to patients.

Prof Steve Field from the CQC said: “It is important to remember that the data is not a judgement, 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.

“I do have concerns about access to practices. But we need to do more to encourage people to take better care of themselves and to make better use of pharmacies.”