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Sutherland Lodge Surgery building

CQC acknowledges improvements at Sutherland Lodge Surgery, Chelmsford

Following an inspection at Sutherland Lodge Surgery in Chelmsford that took place last month, the CQC has published a report that recognises “effective improvements” at the GP practice.

Sutherland Lodge Surgery was rated ‘inadequate’ at an inspection in December last year. Virgin Care took over the GP practice in July 2016 after Personal Medical Service funding cuts forced the previous partners and many experienced staff to hand in their notice. The company has been dedicated to turning the surgery around since then and were aware that improvements needed to be made when the CQC visited in December.

On 4 July, the CQC conducted a focused inspection and found “effective improvements” and a “stronger leadership and governance in place”. The surgery is continuing to recruit permanent doctors, with some already in place, and has long-term agreements with locums to cover other needs. Additional staff have also been recruited to support the practice, including a senior service manager. As a result, the surgery is currently exceeding the contractual requirement for appointment numbers.

Phone access is an issue for many GP practices in the UK and Virgin Care is working to implement a tried-and-tested telephone hub system. The practice also provides a 24/7 online booking service, enabling patients to book, change and cancel appointments with ease.

The CQC does not rate practices at focused inspections, and Virgin Care is determined to continue delivering change, aiming to gain a ‘good’ rating at the next opportunity in line with its other practices across the country.

Anita Andrews, Operations Director for Virgin Care, said: “We recognise there is still work to do to reach the standard we want for the practice and for our patients, and we are committed to implementing our long-term improvement plan in a sustainable way. We are happy with the comments the CQC inspectors have made following their recent visit – they have recognised the positive impact our changes have had, and we remain dedicated to delivering these improvements.”

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