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Telford surgery making improvements

Wellington | Health | Published:

A GP surgery has made improvements, but is still facing criticisms over its appointment system, a new report has revealed.

The Care Quality Commission rated Wellington Medical Practice as "good" for providing a safe, effective, caring and well-led service.

But it was rated as "requires improvement" for how responsive the service is to people's needs.

A newly-publish report, following an inspection carried out at the GP surgery in July, said there was "significant, continued negative patient feedback in regard to problems with telephone access".

It said: "The telephone system had been deemed inadequate to handle the number of calls although implementation of a new system was imminent.

"Patient feedback highlighted dissatisfaction with the appointment system.

"The provider told us that they planned to change this soon after the inspection."

Work got under way earlier this month to install a new telephone system at the GP surgery.

Wellington Medical Practice was given priority by Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group to get it's telephones upgraded to broadband following continuing problems with phone access to staff.

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The system known as voice over internet protocol telephony, or VoIP, was installed at the Chapel Lane practice and new appointment booking arrangements put in place to ease the pressures.

The new system has recently received praise from patient Brian Harris, 70, who campaigned for improvements for many years.

In other areas of the CQC inspection, inspectors said staff had the skills and knowledge to deliver effective care and treatment.

The report said there was a clear leadership structure and most staff felt supported by management.

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It added that systems were in place to manage medical and patient safety alerts and there were adequate arrangements in place to respond to emergencies and major incidents.

Inspectors also said that staff treated patients with kindness and respect.

The report said: "During our inspection we observed that members of staff were courteous and very helpful to patients and treated them with dignity and respect.

"Curtains were provided in consulting rooms to maintain patients’ privacy and dignity during examinations, investigations and treatments.

"Consultation and treatment room doors were closed during consultations; conversations taking place in these rooms could not be overheard.

"Reception staff knew that if patients wanted to discuss sensitive issues or appeared distressed they could offer them a private room to discuss their needs.

"Patients could be treated by a clinician of the same sex.

"Patients said they felt the practice generally offered a good service once seen by a clinician.

"However, four patients said they found reception staff 'rude and unhelpful’."

A new team of GP directors took over the surgery in November 2016.

Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group has since vowed to help to resolve the issues that that have attracted complaints from frustrated patients.

The managing partner of the surgery said they were pleased with aspects of the report and were continuing to make improvements.

Dr Dez Ebenezer said it has already had good support through the process of updating the phone systems and that the surgery now offered more face-to-face appointments with GPs.

He said: "The partners are pleased that Wellington Medical Practice has been rated as ‘Good’ by CQC in our recent inspection (July 2017). This is an improvement since our last inspection under previous management in 2015.

"Wellington Medical Practice has restructured how healthcare is delivered and this will continue to involve allied health professionals being part of the larger healthcare team to deliver excellent and innovative patient care. For example we have now employed a full time prescribing pharmacist who can help patients with medication reviews and prescription queries. We have also employed a new full time consultant physiotherapist.

"If patients require any further information around any of the changes please contact the surgery and one of our team would be happy to assist you.

"I would like to thank my team, the CCG and also our patients for helping us through the changes and hope to continue improving the services we offer for our patients."

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