Skip to main content

Visiting ‘outstanding’ GP practices during a public health rotation

By Helen McGeown, GPST1
 
One of the many innovative posts offered on the Imperial GP training scheme is a six month placement in public health.  Having some background knowledge of this area, I was pleased to have the opportunity to work in public health, enabling me to see how the theories which I have studied are translated into practice.

During my placement, I have been primarily working with the Immunisations team at NHS England (London region). This team has responsibility for commissioning and monitoring vaccination services for all of London. So far I have undertaken numerous projects for this group, including the appraisal of an intervention to improve vaccination uptake, and a consultation on effective social media strategies for vaccine promotion.

Perhaps most valuable, however, has been the opportunity to visit GP practices which have been rated as delivering ‘outstanding’ care by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). During CQC inspections, practices are assessed on the following areas:

·          Are they safe?

·         Are they effective?

·         Are they caring?

·         Are they responsive to people’s needs?

·         Are they well-led?

(from CQC website, accessible at: http://www.cqc.org.uk/content/five-key-questions-we-ask)

CQC visits emphasise the care of patient groups that are often under-served, including homeless people, those with mental health needs, and the elderly. Their stringent criteria are reflected in the fact that only 9 practices within London have received the top rating of ‘outstanding’. The two practices I have visited to date are Amersham Vale practice and the Dr Hickey Surgery.

Amersham Vale practice, based in New Cross, Lewisham, serves a diverse patient group, including a large homeless population, those battling drug and alcohol addictions, and those who have recently moved to the UK from abroad. Dr Louise Irvine, a GP at the practice, shared some ways in which care is tailored to the needs of their patients. These included using extended appointment times as standard, text message reminders for appointments, and frequent use of translation services. Some GPs in the practice had also completed the RCGP Certificate in the Management of Drug and Alcohol Misuse to reduce the need for referrals when caring for patients with addictions.  

Established by Dr Mary Ursula Hickey, the Dr Hickey surgery provides care exclusively for the homeless population living around Westminster. It adopts a flexible approach to maximise the accessibility of its services, with the majority of appointments being ‘walk-in’. Appointment lengths are not defined, and there is an emphasis on delivery of holistic care.  Members of staff at the practice seek to support patients in their engagement with social services and voluntary organisations, and engage in opportunistic health promotion at each appointment. All patients are provided with free sandwiches (courtesy of Pret-a-Manger) and hot drinks while they wait to see a healthcare provider.

Common to both practice visits was a clear emphasis on patient voice. Numerous staff members cited their patients as their greatest resource, and efforts were made to include patient feedback in decisions about the future running of the practice through surveys and patient participation groups. Staff members in both practices had a clear sense of vocation, and a commitment to delivering quality care. Staff spontaneously used words like ‘caring’, ‘kindness’, and even ‘love’ when asked about their relationship with their patients. It was clear that it was this attitude that underpinned and sustained the ability of these practices to deliver outstanding care in what are often challenging contexts.

A short video made during my visits to these practices is accessible here:

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Integrated Clinical Apprenticeship - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHAT ARE MY MORNING COMMITMENTS? Your Thursday morning and afternoon throughout your year 5 will be dedicated to the Integrated Clinical Apprenticeship. This has been negotiated with the Year 5 course leads and your Specialty supervisors for each firm. Attendance is mandatory for both morning and afternoon sessions.
You will attend your allocated GP surgery on a time negotiated with your GP mentor.
In the morning, you will see patients from your caseload, assessing their clinical needs and bringing yourself up to date with their secondary care contacts. You can then plan with your patient to attend any secondary care appointments in the coming weeks with your patients.
You may also see “ad hoc” patients from the surgery and, if relevant, add them to your caseload. There will be an opportunity to see other health professionals in the primary care team and assist in their daily activities.

WHAT IS MY PATIENT “CASELOAD”?
This is a group of about 12 patients (shared with your pair), recr…

Congratulations to Usama Syed

Usama Syed, a final year medical student in the Faculty of Medicine, was selected for a 2015 Imperial College London Outstanding Student Achievement Award. These awards are to recognize and commend outstanding achievement beyond the academic subject area.  Usama was nominated for his award by the Department of Primary Care and Public Health.

Usama's achievements include:
Founding a new society at the College - MedTech Imperial- designed to bring together students across the medical, engineering, and computing departments, With colleagues coding a brand new mobile phone application designed to streamline the way front-line hospital staff provide feedback and quality improvement ideas to senior medical directors. Researching and writing articles for the official Imperial College website on medical topics for public release.Editing a newsletter for a Health Centre in Clapham, London. In this role, he has written numerous articles for local residents on topics such as travel safety an…

Advanced Leadership and Management for Healthcare Course

This summer, the WHO Collaborating Centre delivered the well-established Advanced Leadership and Health Management course in London for delegations from China and the Gulf Region. The participants came from various health professional background with responsibilities to lead in their health systems.

Colleagues from China are mainly from hospital management, some from hospitals with over 4000 beds. The WHO Collaborating Centre Advanced Leadership and Management for healthcare course is a one-week intensive training addressed to health professionals. The content of the course is built around the WHO framework and aims to help participants become more successful leaders in complex knowledge-based health systems around the world.