Care Quality Commission
Driving improvement in GP practices
Leadership, communication and collaboration are among the key drivers of improvement for ten GP practices featured in a new report published today.
'Driving improvement: Case studies from 10 GP practices' draws on interviews with a broad group of staff from ten practices – nine of which were originally rated as inadequate and, through dedicated effort, improved to an overall rating of good on their last inspection. The tenth practice improved from a rating of requires improvement to outstanding.
At the heart of their progress was an understanding that everyone at the practice had a role to play – including clinical, nursing, administrative, managerial staff and patients – and the importance of recognising what each person could contribute to the improvement journey.
Through working with others locally, accepting the support available nationally and empowering practice managers, the practices that generously contributed to this report demonstrated an impressive commitment to not only driving high-quality care for their own patients, but also helping others to learn from their experience.
All the practices that we interviewed faced similar challenges and shared some common experiences which are discussed in the report, such as:
- ensuring practices had strong leadership from a practice manager with the time and skills to lead the practice team
- addressing staffing and training issues such as poor recruitment or training practices
- ensuring that every member of the practice team understood their role, communicating these responsibilities and involving the whole team in the running of the practice
- realising the benefit of involving patients and the local community
- accessing external support, whether locally or nationally.
Speaking about the report, Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of General Practice, said:
“This report is a celebration of excellent general medical practice, commitment to patient care and a testament to the hard work carried out every day by practice teams across England.
“I was thrilled to report last year that the vast majority of practices deliver good or outstanding care and I am similarly proud to share the amazing efforts of practices that took a step back and responded to less favourable inspection findings by using them as a springboard for real action and improvement.
“As general practice the first port of call for most patients, it is vital that we listen to what practices have to say and similarly, it is vital that they engage with the wider system and resist the professional isolation that can lead to poorer care. I am incredibly grateful to all of the practice teams who worked with us in pulling this report together. The lessons from these conversations can help other practices as they face the very real pressures of modern general practice at a time of growing patient demand and workload.”
Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:
“The hard working GPs and staff at these practices which have shown remarkable improvements in quality and safety deserve huge credit.
“It is a big achievement to come out of special measures, and reaching a good or outstanding rating demonstrates sheer hard work and a real commitment to patient care.”
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:
“GPs and our teams work incredibly hard to deliver the best possible care to our patients, but the pressures in general practice are unprecedented and it’s regrettable, though not surprising, that sometimes this gets too much for particular practices.
“Today’s report shows that many struggling practices can be turned around with investment and the support and guidance of other professionals who know how general practice works. We are proud that the College’s own scheme has played a constructive part in this transformation and we wish these practices well for the future, for the GPs, their teams and all their patients.”
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