Quality control visits to Shropshire GP surgeries felt rushed, NHS report says

Quality control visits to GP practices felt rushed as the time needed to cover all areas was underestimated, a local NHS report says.

Medicines Management, Contracts and Quality officers from Telford and Wrekin’s NHS Clinical Commissioning Group paid simultaneous annual visits to surgeries from 2019, meeting with practice managers, doctors and others.

A committee report for the newly-formed county-wide CCG says this improved discussions but problems arose when clinicians had to leave the meetings to see patients.

The Primary Care Commissioning Committee supported plans to harmonise practice visit methods, which had previously differed, throughout Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin, and agreed to ask a task and finish group to look at the matter.

The CCGs are responsible for planning and buying health and care services. Until this year, Shropshire CCG and Telford and Wrekin CCG were separate organisations but, following approval from NHS England, they were dissolved and replaced by the Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin CCG on April 1.

Primary care partnership managers Janet Gittins and Jenny Stevenson and senior quality lead Jane Sullivan wrote that the two organisations' Primary Care and Quality Teams undertook practice visits prior to 2020-21 but with slightly different content and focus.

“This now needs to be considered moving forward, adopting a unified approach as a single commissioning organisation,” they added, proposing the resumption of visits in the autumn, if circumstances allow, on a two-year rolling programme.

In Telford and Wrekin, yearly announced practice visits were reintroduced in 2016 when representatives from Primary Care Commissioning and Quality Teams met practice manager and clinical colleagues – mainly GPs – to discuss specific areas.

From 2018, a member of the Business Intelligence team also attended but Medicines Management undertook separate visits.

“In 2019 it was proposed that the visits by Medicines Management, Contracts and Quality were combined into one visit,” the report added.

“Although this approach allowed for the sharing of information in a way that stimulated discussion across the different areas, it was felt that the time it would take to cover all subjects had been underestimated.

“This led to a feeling of the visit being rushed at the end when clinicians had to leave to start surgery.”

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