AT Medics is a leading provider of Primary Healthcare services in London and recently achieved an “Outstanding” Care Quality Commission (CQC) rating for Barlby Surgery, making it one of only eight practices in London to achieve this distinguished accolade under the CQCs new inspection approach. Three of these Outstanding rated practices are managed by AT Medics. Nationally, just 85 practices have been rated as “Outstanding”.
GP Director Dr Aumran Tahir has been a clinical lead since 2004 when AT Medics took over Barlby Surgery from a failing practice. The practice has since grown from 1,200 to over 9,500 patients and also delivers training for postgraduate nurses, medical students and foundation doctors. Barlby Surgery achieved the Royal College of General Practitioners Quality Practice Award in 2013, the highest award bestowed by the college for quality in primary care. This week, the surgery has also received news of its reaccreditation as a Teaching Practice by the London Deanery for a further 5 years, including reaccreditation of GP Trainer Dr Sonali Mukherjee-Bose for a further 5 years.
CQC’s new programme of inspections of England based GP practices focusses on rating according to whether they are safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led. Inspectors rated Barlby Surgery outstanding for being particularly well led and responsive to people’s needs.
Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of General Practice, said:
“The practice used innovative and proactive methods to improve patient outcomes, working with other local providers to share best practice. For example they had teamed up with a local charity to deliver a range of health projects in the local community.
“Patients said they were treated with compassion, dignity and respect and they were involved in their care and decisions about their treatment.
“The practice implemented suggestions for improvements and made changes to the way it delivered services as a consequence of feedback from patients and from the Patient Participation Group (PPG).
“The practice had good facilities and was well equipped to treat patients and meet their needs. Information about how to complain was available and easy to understand.
“The practice had a clear vision which had quality and safety as its top priority. High standards were promoted and owned by all practice staff with evidence of team working across all roles.
“We saw several areas of outstanding practice including:
The practice had increased the flexibility of access to appointments and could demonstrate the impact of this by reduced use of the GP appointments during the day. The practice provided Skype consultations twice weekly, offering approximately 12 consultations per week and there was a GP who was based at the reception desk who provided both telephone consultations and a triage service. The practice was open from 8.00am to 9pm Mondays to Friday and 9am to 5pm on Saturday and Sundays.
“The practice had formed a partnership with a local charity to provide a multi-stranded approach to work on health access to primary care services for BME people for whom English was not a first language. The practice had co-produced a short film with patients, clinicians and faith groups called “Talking from the heart”1 exploring mental health diagnosis and therapy by combining medical and faith advice
“The practice had “Practice Champions” which was a project aimed at parents and children and young people aged 16-21. The Practice Champions supported other patients through education, signposting and peer support. This had increased the amount of young people who attended the surgery for both general information and specific concerns.
“They had developed two training packages. One for clinicians, which entailed fortnightly consultant-led training for GPs via webinars in a collaborative learning environment designed to enhance clinical knowledge and delivering excellent patient services and another for receptionists training as Healthcare Assistants (HCAs). The training was used by other local practices.”
Ursula Gallagher, Deputy Chief Inspector of General Practice said:
“We found that the Barlby Surgery is providing an Outstanding service, particularly for younger patients, those of working age and those speaking English as a second language.
“Patients told us that they were treated with compassion, dignity and respect and that they were involved in their care and decisions about their treatment. They also told us that information was provided to help them understand the care available to them.
“We were particularly impressed with the practice’s work to initiate positive service improvements for local patients and the commitment of all staff to continuously seek improved outcomes for local people.
“Staff demonstrated a sound understanding of the differing needs of their patients and reflected these needs when planning and delivering services. This is an excellent example of what outstanding care looks like.”
Dr Aumran Tahir, AT Medics GP Director said:
“Our ethos is based upon delivering high quality care focussed on patient needs and safety. AT Medics and its practices in general push the boundaries of clinical improvement by implementing quality systems and continually reviewing and investing in training and education of our staff. It is this ethos that has led to our rating and we see the same trends throughout our practices, as an organisation that truly has its patients and quality care at the forefront of its service delivery.
“AT Medics is accredited by Investors in People; and that’s exactly what we do. We invest in our staff to develop their capacity and skills, encouraging a collaborative environment between our administration and clinical staff, and we nurture this environment through well run and regular clinical and staff meetings and training.
“We also invest in learning more about our patients. We work closely with our PPG to learn where changes need to be made and the effectiveness of our current services, as well as paying close attention to vulnerable groups and how we can help to improve their care. We have a dedicated member of staff who works with the PPG, enabling the group to function effectively and to encourage utilisation of skills within our patient population to help others.
We also work very closely with the wider multi-disciplinary team and hold regular meetings to discuss ways of resolving the needs of patients with complex problems in a coordinated way.
“Managers should be visionary and need to take a medium to long term view when considering the developmental aims of their practice. They must work closely with administrative and clinical staff in order to be abreast of what patients are saying to be better able to respond to their needs and concerns. We are also privileged to have achieved the RCGP QPA Award at Barlby Surgery, which recognised the commitment of our entire team to providing high quality care for patients within a learning and adaptive environment – this is the model that we would encourage other practices and practice managers to adopt, aiming for holistic improvement through collaborative efforts.
“I am extremely proud of my team. This award is validation of the exceptional care they deliver in challenging times for general practice, and recognises that our systems based healthcare delivers high quality care.”