AT Medics is a leading provider of Primary Healthcare services in London and recently achieved an “Outstanding” Care Quality Commission (CQC) rating for Kings Road Medical Centre, making it one of only seven practices in London to achieve this distinguished accolade under the CQCs new inspection approach. Nationally, just 84 practices have been rated as “Outstanding”.
GP Director Dr Aumran Tahir has been a clinical lead since 2007 when AT Medics took over Kings Road Medical Centre from a failing practice. The practice has since grown from 3,000 to over 10,500 patients and also delivers training for postgraduate nurses, medical students and foundation doctors. Kings Road Medical Centre achieved the Royal College of General Practitioners Quality Practice Award in 2013, the highest award bestowed by the college for quality in primary care.
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 Kings Road Medical Centre outstanding for being particularly well led and responsive to people’s needs.
Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of General Practice, said:
“We found that the practice used innovative and proactive methods to improve patient outcomes, working with other local providers to share best practice. For example, the practice had teamed up with a social enterprise to tackle immediate health and social issues affecting Muslim communities such as mental health1.
“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 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 a daily ‘frontline’ GP who provided both telephone / email consultations, urgent prescriptions and a triage service. The practice said this provided expert care at the point of contact. This had reduced the need for patients to have an appointment with a GP.
“The chief executive sent all staff a weekly ‘staff matters’ bulletin by email. This provided them with any information about the practice including clinical updates, staffing matters, training opportunities and any changes within the practice group.
“The provider 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.
“The practice had maximised their Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) performance over the previous six years and flu vaccination rates for over 65s and at risk groups were consistently above the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for the previous five years.”
Ursula Gallagher, Deputy Chief Inspector of General Practice said:
“We found that the Kings Road Medical Centre is providing an Outstanding service, particularly for older patients, those of working age and those with long term health conditions.
“Patients told us that they found it easy to make an appointment with a named GP and that there was continuity of care, with urgent appointments available the same day.
“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 a great 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 Kings Road Medical Centre, 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.”