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Care quality commitment

Professor Steve Field, the Care Quality Commission (CQC)'s Chief Inspector of General Practice, has announced the publication of the first reports showing outstanding general practice in two very different sorts of practices in the North West. Clearly excellence can be achieved even in challenging areas with high deprivation, but how have they done it?

The CQC regulate, check and inspect all health and social care providers to ensure they are meeting national standards, and many are meeting these standards - but there is also significant variation across the UK. Looking at five key areas, the inspections are now carried out by a team of people including nurses, doctors and patient representatives who ask:

1.    Are they safe?
2.    Are they effective?
3.    Are they caring?
4.    Are they responsive to people's needs?
5.    Are they well-led?

The CQC also look at how well services are provided for specific groups many with complex needs covering the whole spectrum of the population including:

  • People with long-term conditions.
  • Families, children and young people.
  • People of working age.
  • People living in vulnerable circumstances.
  • People experiencing mental health problems, including dementia.

There are a whole range of examples of good practice in these reports which others can learn from and strive to achieve in their practices. The reports show that the services are safe with good risk management strategies and learning from significant incidents is shared widely including collaboration with patient groups so that practice is constantly developed and improved.

Services were rated as highly effective in that there was evidence of the practices delivering high quality care with and providing the right staff with the right skills at the right time. Interestingly in one practice the inspection found Advanced Nurse Practitioners (ANPs) were able to have more responsibility than the practice nurses and see a broader range of patients which requires further consideration.

The culture in both practices was highly patient centered, caring and compassionate and the teams worked hard to overcome challenges in achieving this and should be commended. Alongside this, services were responsive to patients' needs; patients were listened to and involved in development of services. Most importantly the services were well led, with everyone feeling valued and team work across all roles was evident.

Across general practice lots of nurses are leading the way in transforming services and improving practice but there are also those who are struggling with this agenda and need support.

Take your time to read the reports and consider how you might embrace some of the outstanding examples of practice. It's not rocket science - just teams of people with the drive and ambition to achieve the best for their patients. Isn't this something we should all be striving for whatever setting we work in, whether that's in a hospital, care home, clinic or a patient's own home and clearly it is something achievable for even the most challenging areas?