A nurse-led general practice in North West London has been rated “outstanding” by the Care Quality Commission, making it one of only 3% of surgeries inspected so far to have achieved the top rating.
The regulator gave its top rating to the Cuckoo Lane Practice in Ealing following an inspection in January.
CQC inspectors said they found the practice was providing a “safe, caring, effective and well-led service that was particularly responsive to the needs of its local community”.
In particular, the CQC’s report on Cuckoo Lane highlighted three areas of outstanding practice – services for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, mental health and integrated care for older patients.
Regular spirometry tests, weekly clinics for patients registered at other local practices and support for patients to maintain self-management plans had led to improved symptom control and reduced hospital admissions for 25% of patients with COPD, said the CQC.
“This is a great example of what outstanding care looks like”
Meanwhile, targeted treatment and support for local patients with a mental illness was offered to enable more integrated care outside of hospital settings. The CQC noted that the transfer of care had led to 19 local patients previously receiving secondary care, now getting direct treatment from their local practice.
In addition, the regulator praised the integrated care that was provided for older patients through a dedicated Age UK support worker being based at the practice three days a week, who offered care to older patients living alone. Transport was also provided, to help house-bound patients, or those who found it difficult to travel, attend appointments.
Michele Golden, head of GP inspection for London, described the practice as a “great example of what outstanding care looks like”, particularly for services for vulnerable patients.
“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,” she said.
“Staff demonstrated a sound understanding of the differing needs of their patients and reflected these needs when planning and delivering services,” she added.
“We are particularly pleased that the whole team was recognised as having a huge part to play in what we offer”
Julie Belton & Carol Sears
A CQC spokesman said that, as of 29 June, the regulator had inspected 1,198 GP practices under its new system of primary care assessments. Of these, only 37 have been rated “outstanding” overall.
The practice, which provides services to around 4,400 people, is owned by two nurse practitioners – Julie Belton and Carol Sears – who run it under an Alternative Provider Medical Services contract.
It is staffed by three part-time salaried GPs, five nurse practitioners, four nurses, a healthcare assistant and a range of non-clinical staff.
In a joint statement, Ms Belton and Ms Sears said they were “delighted and proud” that the practice had been given the “highest possible rating”.
“We are particularly pleased that the whole team was recognised as having a huge part to play in what we offer,” they said, noting that it was the first practice in North West London to be rated as outstanding by the CQC.
“[The] CQC saw that the shared purpose and common set of values led to a strong team working well together to have a real impact,” they added.