Medlock Vale given clean bill of health and removed from special measures
Thursday 11th October 2018 @ 10:11 by Tom Greggan
Droylsden News Tameside

Patients of a Droylsden medical practice have praised its new management team after the surgery was removed from special measures and given a ‘Good’ rating from the CQC.

Medlock Vale was placed into special measures and given two warning notices in January, after a damning inspection in November 2017 found it to be failing every population group it served.

In April, the team behind the Highlands & Trafalgar Square Surgeries in Ashton and the King Street Medical Centre in Dukinfield, were approached by Medlock Vale to go in and turn the practice around. An interim inspection by the CQC found immediate improvements.

The new management team officially took over on June 1st, although the formal takeover my Dr Quang Nguyen is still in process. Another inspection was carried out on August 9th and was full of praise.

It read: “Significant improvement had been made including recruitment of a new management team, strengthened and recruited to the clinical team providing greater capacity across the service. They carried out a full review of their system and processes embedding their new processes and improving care and treatment for patients.”

Louise Morgan is part of the new management team at Medlock Vale. She outlined the main improvements that have took place and praised staff for working with the new team in trying circumstances.

“The main problem when we took over was patient care and patients unable to access the appointments they needed,” Louise said. “We put in a new appointment system and brought in locum GPs until we could fully staff the practice. Now we have routine, same day and emergency appointments available.

“We knew about the inspection in August and knew that if we carried on the work we’d been doing since April that it would be a positive report. We were very pleased to get a ‘Good’ rating because normally when you come out of special measures, you get an ‘Adequate’ rating first.

“It’s been a stressful process for the staff but they have been great with us coming in. The whole team has pulled together.”

The latest CQC report, published in September was most welcome to the Patient Participation Group, who had been battling against the failing practice for the past two years. Results from an annual survey in July 2017 found that patient satisfaction rates were below the national average in eight out of nine categories.

Chair of the PPG, Olga Williams, said: “The main difference is patients are able to access an appointment on the day they want. That is the biggest thing that’s been noticed. The telephones are being answered a lot quicker too. This is the feedback we’re getting.

“The new management team are more engaged with the patient and they want the patient to be engaged with them. They are listening to the patients. The staff who have remained feel positive about it, and so do we.”

Drs Vinny Khunger and Kate Hebden, CCG Governing Body GP members for Primary Care, said: “NHS Tameside and Glossop CCG is delighted that following extensive efforts by both the past and present management team at Medlock Vale Medical Practice, the practice has returned to receiving a ‘Good’ rating by the Care Quality Commission.

“We have worked closely with the practice to help it achieve the expected standards and will continue to support the practice where necessary to ensure that good quality care is being delivered to its registered patients.

“We would like to thank the practice for their hard work in turning the practice around.”

Local MP Angela Rayner added: “Any progress improving this local service is welcome but I want to listen to local patients and make sure it is real and sustained. I hope the CCG will continue to monitor the situation and make sure the right support is in place, as well as taking on board feedback from my constituents about the situation.

“Across the board, we are seeing our health service under strain from funding shortages and damaging structural changes imposed by the government, so I will continue to campaign for the funding we need and the support that patients and hard working NHS staff need.”

You can read the full CQC report into Medlock Vale at www.cqc.org.uk/location/1-542636285.