Outstanding GP practice 'among most inspirational' seen by CQC inspectors

A GP practice in Oldham that runs gardening, walking and social groups for patients has been rated outstanding and praised as 'one of the most inspirational GP surgeries' ever seen by CQC inspectors.

CQC chief inspector of primary care Professor Steve Field (Photo: Solent News)
CQC chief inspector of primary care Professor Steve Field (Photo: Solent News)

CQC chief inspector for primary care Professor Steve Field strongly commended The Hilltop Surgery, Oldham, for providing ‘whole person healthcare at its very best’.

The top-scoring practice was awarded an outstanding rating across all but one of the CQC’s main lines of enquiry for being effective, caring, responsive and well-led. It was rated good for safety.

This places it among the very top of the over 5,500 practices rated so far, of which 4% are outstanding, 82% good, 10% requires improvement and 3% inadequate.

The Hilltop Surgery is run by Hope Citadel Healthcare, a not-for-profit community interest company that also runs three other practices in Greater Manchester – two of which have also been inspected, with one rated outstanding and the other good.

The inspection report was published this month following an inspection in September.

Map: GP CQC ratings

The practice received particular praise for the range of community groups it ran on its premises to meet the medical, social and cultural needs of its patients.

Schemes run by the practice include:

  • BLISS (Believe Love Inspire Self-worth Support) – a group for isolated young mothers, initiated by reception staff. A counsellor from the practice attends the group once a month.
  • Mucky Monkeys – a group for young children and their parents, initiated by The Salvation Army and run by members of the reception staff.
  • Inspire – a social group for older patients and the retired.
  • Hill Top Growers – a gardening group initially set up for diabetic patients, but open to all, which encourages healthy eating and exercise.
  • Healthy lifestyles – a group that monitors patient's weights and offers group walks and exercise.

The practice is also closely involved with The Brew, a neighbouring community café. Patients living in social isolation are supported to attend meetups at the café, and those looking to learn new skills or start work are helped to gain work experience there.

The CQC also welcomed the practice’s efforts to look after the holistic needs of patients beyond just healthcare.

The Hilltop Surgery employs a ‘focused care practitioner’ who sees patients on a wide range of issues, including alcoholism, sexual exploitation and sleep problems. This services sets out plans for patients alongside other organisations such as the job centre or housing department.

'Fantastic' general practice

Professor Field said: ‘The Hilltop Surgery is one of the most inspirational GP surgeries that I have visited. This is a real achievement and a fantastic resource for the people of Oldham to have on their doorstep.

‘The practice is run by a not-for-profit community interest company led by inspirational, caring clinicians, who treat people not just for their medical needs but also their wider social and cultural needs.

‘It is whole person healthcare at its very best and the services they provide are exceptional.’

Deputy chief inspector of general practice, Alison Holbourn, added: ‘It was truly impressive to see the initiatives this practice had implemented not just to improve the health and wellbeing of their patients, but also aimed at reducing their reliance on primary healthcare or medication.’

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