Wigan GP given good rating just months after standards row

Claire House in Ince
Claire House in Ince

A Wigan GP surgery has been given a good rating by the watchdog just a few months after being embroiled in a major row over standards.

And the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors decided the work done at Claire House in Ince with vulnerable people merited the top rating of outstanding.

The practice, along with Rivington Way surgery of which it is a branch site, impressed the watchdog for its partnership with a local women’s refuge.

Staff even provided presents for residents’ children at Christmas with their own money and the GP surgery donated clothing, baby items and toiletries to the refuge.

It is a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for the sites run by SSP Health as in January a whistleblower told of experienced staff leaving and morale plummeting following a turbulent takeover process.

A few months later, though, CQC inspectors were able to give the good rating to the Phoenix Way site and the surgery on Rivington Avenue in Platt Bridge.

Claire Doherty, practice manager for the two surgeries, said: “It is really good news for all our patients and staff that the CQC has recognised the high-quality care we offer at Rivington Way and Claire House.

“It has been hard work, but these ratings prove that it has been worth it.

“I am really proud of the strong link that we have built with our local women’s refuge over the years.

“Some people would say that it is going above and beyond normal practice, but to us all at Claire House it is just the way we work.

“Our priority is our patients and we are one big family. We see vulnerability every day and we are always here to support anyone in any way that we can.”

The practice operates as the single point of contact for refuge residents for all their health needs, including immediate access to services when required.

The organisation helping vulnerable women told inspectors the link with SSP Health had a positive impact on residents.

The CQC did not identify any areas for improvement following the change of leadership to SSP Health.

Inspectors found clear systems to manage risk and prevent safety incidents happening, although when something did go wrong lessons were learned from it.

Care was routinely checked for effectiveness and appropriateness and staff treated patients with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect.

Patients said the appointment system was easy to use and they could access care when they needed it.

There was also a strong focus on continuous learning and improvement in SSP Health.