Spectacular improvement at failing doctors’ surgery

Paula Bacon, the surgerys new practice manager, who has helped to improve the running of Trent Valley.
Paula Bacon, the surgerys new practice manager, who has helped to improve the running of Trent Valley.

A doctors’ practice in Saxilby that was branded inadequate and placed in special measures has made a spectacular improvement.

When inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) visited the Trent Valley Surgery in October 2015, a scathing report found that patients were at risk of harm becase standards were so low.

But now the practice has jumped from an ‘Inadequate’ rating to ‘Good’ after the latest inspection last month, and in one area -- how caring its services are -- it has received the top ‘Outstanding’ rating.

Much of the credit for the transformation, and removal from special measures, has been attributed to the lead GP partner, Dr Suresh Nagappa, who now runs the practice after replacing Dr Anthony Robbins-Cherry, and the new practice manager, Paula Bacon.

Dr Nagappa said: “We are incredibly pleased with the result of the latest CQC inspection. There has been some good leadership from the management team and excellent teamwork from everyone at the practice. We have a very supportive patient population who stood by us all along and never made us feel we were inadequate. The CQC inspection team encouraged our improvement efforts, and our wonderfully pro-active patient participation group was also a huge help.”

Paula said: “When I joined the practice in February 2016, I really felt we would be able to turn it around, and I’m delighted to say we have. It took relentless and dogged determination –– but we did it as a team.

“Communication with the staff was imperative, and there were regular progress reports. It was also important to make sure everyone felt some kind of ownership and that whatever they did to contribute, no matter how small, it was important.

“All the practice team stayed motivated, and it is testament to their hard work that we have now been rated ‘Good’.”

Professor Steve Field, the CQC’s chief inspector of general practice, said: “We found Trent Valley had significantly strengthened its leadership and management and had taken a proactive team approach towards making and sustaining improvements in quality.

“Staff had the skills, knowledge and experience to deliver effective care and treatment. The practice had a clear vision and strategy to deliver high-quality care and promote good outcomes for patients.

“Patients rated the practice higher than others for almost all aspects of care. It is clear that the practice took our findings seriously, seeking external advice to make the necessary changes. All the staff should be proud of what they have achieved, and I applaud the dedication and commitment they have shown to improving the care of their patients.”

About 4,300 patients are on the register at Trent Valley Surgery, which has its main site on Sykes Lane, Saxilby but also has a branch at Main Street, Torksey.

Key findings from the CQC inspection included feedback from patients that reflected positively about the staff. They said they were treated with compassion, dignity and respect, and also stressed how easy it was to make an appointment with a named GP.

The report also highlighted many examples of how the choices and preferences of patients were valued and acted upon, while staff fully understood and fulfilled their responsibilities.