A GP practice which was on the brink of closure last year due to its doctor retiring has been given an Outstanding rating by healthcare inspectors.
Beefold Medical Centre, in Atherton, was given the top accreditation by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after a comprehensive inspection.
The CQC rated three out of five areas of service to patients as Outstanding – care, responsiveness and leadership – with the other two classed as Good.
Inspectors praised a number of aspects at the surgery – which became part of GP federation SSP Health last year – including that since the takeover, medication review rates had improved from being “significantly low at 35 per cent for all patients” to 100 per cent after additional GP and pharmacist resources were allocated.
Inspectors also highlighted that the practice was breast-feeding, veteran and LGBT-friendly, and praised the practice’s Cancer Champion, who contacts all newly diagnosed patients and ensures all processes and support are in place for follow-up treatment and medication.
The inspectors spoke highly about the practice’s ‘good wish tree’ which contains quotes and messages to improve patients’ mood and to boost their self-esteem and make them smile.
The report says: “The practice encouraged staff and patients to support this by taking one of these positive quotes and messages from the ‘Good Wish Tree’ to improve their own and someone else’s day. Staff we spoke with informed us that several patients had commented on how they felt this had a positive impact on their well-being.”
Beefold is a small practice with only one GP and one practice nurse and was under the threat of closure before SSP Health took it over.
The number of smaller practices has halved in recent years, with only 10 per cent of surgeries having fewer than 3,000 patients in 2017 compared with 20 per cent 10 years before as funding and GP recruitment pressures increasingly leading them to merge or close.
In 2018, 138 practices closed across the UK.