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Strong improvement at Witham’s Silver End surgery leads to ‘good’ rating by CQC

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have noted the numerous improvements brought in for patients at Witham’s Silver End GP surgery, scoring it an overall ‘good’ rating.

The result, published today (Monday, 8 July), follows its’ latest inspection in April – 15 months after it was rated as ‘requires improvement’.

Virgin Care took on the practice at short notice following a procurement process by NHS England two years ago. NHS England now manages the GP contract to provide services for the patients of Silver End jointly with NHS Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group.

New manager Pauline Doyle, who has many years of experience in the health industry, started last year and since then the practice staff and wider Virgin Care primary care team have introduced a raft of improvements with more set for the coming months.

For example, the surgery now has three regular long-term GPs available, rather than a series of changing locums. This is important as it means the surgery’s 3,800 patients have continuity of care as well as all the benefits of having doctors they know in place.

Other improvements include employing a permanent practice nurse and a health care assistant as well as changing the roles of one team member so their job is to deal with repeat prescriptions – ensuring patients can get access to the medicine they need quicker and more easily.

A clinic for measuring the blood of patients on long-term medication that can cause blood thinning has also started and the surgery will take general blood tests for patients soon. Employees there have also undertaken Dementia Friends training and a monthly dementia café drop-in is due to open for those with this condition and their carers.

A carer drop-in and support morning session has also been started to help all those that care for people with long-term conditions, whatever they are, and the surgery also now offers help and advice for people seeking to quit smoking.

The CQC inspectors lists the areas of safe services, effective services, caring services and well-led services as ‘good’.

They said ‘staff dealt with patients through kindness, and respected and involved them in decisions about their care’, and that ‘the practice had effective clinical oversight, to ensure care and treatment was well-led’. They added ‘GPs had the skills to deliver high-quality sustainable care’.

The surgery’s good rating shows strong improvement following the ‘requires improvement’ rating it was given after its inspection in January last year.

Today’s report points out that in the area of responsive services the surgery ‘requires improvement’ as patient satisfaction in the GP national survey – taken between January and March last year and showing 92.5 per cent said their needs had been met – was lower than 12 months earlier.

The report notes that the surgery has carried out a number of improvements since then including increasing the availability of appointments booked online.

A new telephone system is being put in place over the summer which will increase the number of lines into the surgery – including one dedicated for those seeking repeat prescriptions. The new lines will ensure patients booking appointments get their calls answered more quickly.

In regards to older people, the report says ‘all (older) patients had a named GP who supported them in whatever setting they lived’ and that patients with ‘long term multiple conditions have their needs reviewed in one appointment’.

In addition, appointments are available before and after school so children do not have to visit during lesson time.

Pauline Doyle, the Service Manager at Silver End surgery, said: “I am very pleased that the inspectors have recognised the serious improvement that we have made at Silver End surgery and that this is having a positive impact on the way patients receive care.

“All of my colleagues at the surgery have been so supportive and enthusiastic about bringing in improvements and this has been a real team effort. We still do have improvements to make and are committed to these as we want to provide the best service we can for people living in the community and to be judged as outstanding by inspectors.”

The full report can be found online at

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