A GP surgery serving one of Wigan’s most deprived areas has been rated Outstanding by the health watchdog.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) gave the top rating to Marsh Green Medical Practice, which is run by SSP Health and serves 3,250 patients.
The leadership of the health firm, which took over running the place just a year ago, was highly praised by the inspectors.
Several areas of its work were also rated outstanding, with the CQC particularly impressed by increasing cervical cancer screening rates in an area where patients can be hard to engage.
Safeguarding training, free access to hygiene and sanitary products and cards bearing positive messages given out by reception staff also drew praise.
SSP Health director and GP Dr Shikha Pitalia said: “To be given an Outstanding rating at a practice with so many challenges is a magnificent achievement for all our clinical and management staff at Marsh Green and our colleagues across our organisation who support them.
“To have the inspectors acknowledge the excellent healthcare that our practice patients receive is incredibly rewarding and I know our staff care very deeply that they are making a difference to people’s lives.”
CQC inspectors noted that previously medication review rates at the Harrow Road practice were just six per cent, which is “significantly low”.
However, now every patient on medication gets a review thanks to additional GP and pharmacy resources being allocated.
The surgery now also gives out positive affirmation cards with messages to help patients cope with adversity and remind them there is a brighter future ahead.
The report said: “The practice had proactively involved themselves in local schemes and initiatives to provide the best-possible care for patients and their families.”
Management of the practice also earned plenty of positive comments, with the leadership team described as “truly compassionate and caring” with “quality and integrity...at the heart of everything”.
The CQC said the practice was outstanding concerning being a caring and well-led service, receiving good ratings for being safe, effective and responsive.