A medical centre in Essex was yesterday named "Practice of the Year" at the first Management in Practice Awards ceremony, held yesterday (8 October 2008) at the Birmingham NEC.
The Limes Medical Centre in Epping received the award, which was sponsored by Wesleyan Medical Sickness, for improving patient access by creating a robust triaged access system. This involved the entire practice team, including a coordinating role for the practice's healthcare assistants.
The access system, which took 18 months to implement and has now been running for one year, has enabled the team to identify acute and chronic care pathways quickly, provide excellent continuity of care and enhanced satisfaction for patients, as well as improving staff motivation and skill mix.
Debbie Bodhanya (pictured, far right), Practice Director of the Limes Medical Centre, said: "We were really pleased to win this award. It's a recognition of all the work we've been doing around the access project. And it's a nice boost and a morale-lifter for our team."
The team award was appropriate for a practice that worked as a collective: "We do everything in a democratic way," said Mrs Bodhanya. "The whole team is involved in all sorts of decision-making processes, and the patients were also involved in redesigning the access system."
Announcing the winner of the Practice of the Year Award at yesterday's ceremony, Judith Harvey, a GP and co-author of The Handbook of Practice Management, said: "Judging this award was an inspiring experience. We were looking for a practice that was thinking outside the tickbox, and had done something innovative.
"All of the nominees had flattened hierarchies, skilled up, involved patients and had changed the way of thinking within the practice".
The Management in Practice Awards were launched to give recognition to practice managers and practice teams, following feedback from readers that they had found the last year to be a difficult time in general practice, with negative coverage in the media over issues such as GP salaries and practice opening hours.
The Awards featured five other categories:
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