Practice Makes Perfect As Surgery Earns Top Scores

Good health - staff from Vauxhall Health Centre have been praised by inspectors for offering outstanding care for its patients
 A LIVERPOOL GP Practice has been given an ‘outstanding’ accreditation following a recent inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Staff at Vauxhall Health Centre in Limekiln Lane are delighted with the grade. Pat Park, reception manager at the practice said: “Our health centre is very community-driven. We love our patients and they love coming to see us – I’m sure not many people can say they like going to the doctors!” In 1992 two GPs, Dr Kit Oi Chung and Dr Helen McKendrick, were employed to work with a steering group of residents, The Vauxhall Health Forum, to explore the health care needs of local residents within the area. Vauxhall was regarded as an area of deprivation with alarming morbidity and mortality statistics and inadequate primary health care services. A high need for health care services was identified, focusing particularly on women’s and children’s services. A need for mental health services was also identified, largely due to stress caused by social circumstances. As a result, Vauxhall Primary Health Care opened its doors in September 1993. Practice manager Claire Crumbleholme said: “We invited some of the patients who were on the original health forum to speak to the CQC inspectors themselves. Their stories are so authentic and original – a real breath of fresh air.” The surgery has an open reception area, tea and toast for morning patients and a waiting room book shelf., encouraging people to read while they wait. “We also host CAB meetings and other group sessions at the centre as it’s a real community hub and a safe place to go.” Added Pat, who has been at the health centre for more than 23 years. “Everything in our surgery is about the patient and nothing is too much. We have a great team here who all share the same vision.” Claire added: “Patients are on first-name terms with the doctors, we don’t have a screen on the wall calling people in to see the doctor. Our GPs don’t want to do that, they like to come out into the waiting area and welcome their patients in. “The GPS here really care about consistency and quality of care. The doctors really get to know their patients so they have fantastic relationships with them. Even when we use locums we use the same ones so that the familiarity stays.” “Our staff turnover is so low because it’s a nice place to work. From back office to font of house we have great systems in place and we all support each other.” The surgery team have several ‘watch this space projects’ going on. Claire said: “We have some great ideas in the pipeline like perhaps hosting some coffee morning-style events aimed at local residents who may feel isolated. One of the biggest problems that impacts on people’s health is loneliness, so opening our doors even wider is always on our projects list. “We are always looking at new ways to communicate with people in the local area to help them manage their health and social wellbeing.” Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of General Practice said: “The GPs and staff at Vauxhall Primary Health Care have worked hard to demonstrate a real commitment to their patients. All of this hard work and dedication pays off in making a real difference for their patients – which is why we are able to rate this practice to be Outstanding.” Pat added: “Sometimes it’s hard job working at a medical practice as it can be really stressful – but you’d never know it with our teams. From the ground up we all work together to ensure we give an excellent quality of care, and this health centre is a true representation of what the power of community can really achieve.”