Joy as practice wins top award
A GP practice has become the first in Leicestershire to be awarded a national accolade for its high quality patient care.
Doctors at the Hockley Farm Practice, in Braunstone, Leicester, have gained the Royal College of General Practitioners' Quality Practice Award.
It is the college's highest attainable award, which is designed to improve patient care.
Professor Kamlesh Khunti, a doctor at the practice, said: "I am absolutely delighted our practice has been the first to achieve this in Leicestershire.
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"Nationally, only a few practices are successful in gaining the award which is a kite mark of quality.
"We work in one of the most deprived areas of the country and this award is a reflection of all the hard work and the high standards of care that our practice staff give to patients."
Changes which have been made as part of the accreditation process include a new appointments system.
Instead of patients queuing outside the surgery at 8am to see a doctor the same day, they can now ring in and a doctor will either advise over the telephone or book an appointment for them to be seen in the surgery that day.
Communication between the practice and community and other health teams has also been improved, and there are regular meetings to discuss the care of individual patients.
Dr Khunti said the practice, which includes seven doctors and a trainee GP, care for 10,500 patients in Braunstone . He said: "We felt that as GPs are constantly getting a bad press about patients not being well served, and about poor GPs in inner cities, getting this accreditation would be one way of proving we are providing the highest level of care that there is.
"It is not just about doctors but about the whole of the primary care team.
"Everyone here is committed to good quality care.
"It has cost about £3,000 and taken an horrendous amount of work over the past 18 months to gather all the information which is needed.
"As well as providing two large folders full of information, all the staff at the practice were interviewed, as well as patients and other health professionals based at the surgery."
The health watchdog, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), is to begin inspecting all GP surgeries from April to check essential standards are being met.
Dr Khunti said: "The Quality Practice Award is beyond what the CQC will be inspecting."
Patricia Overty, from Braunstone, and vice-chairman of the surgery's public participation group, said: "I am absolutely delighted and very proud of everyone here at the surgery.
"There is so many negative stories about the NHS that this has to be good news.
"One of the things our group has helped to change is the appointments system so now people don't have to queue at 8am."