The practice had always struggled to help patients with alcohol-related problems, so when a new patient offered to help with these challenging cases, they took up the offer. His success with three consecutive patients was based on real empathy, as he and his associates were all ex-alcoholics.
After a year of unfunded and voluntary work, the practice gradually secured local funding to develop a more extensive service, covering ten practices and seeing over 100 new patients per year.
Unlike statutory services, the Gainsborough Foundation, as it is now known, provides 24/7 support during detoxification, and at evenings and weekends. They treat patients swiftly and consider a request for help as equivalent to a medical emergency, ensuring help is given when motivation is high. They support patients through community-based detoxification wherever possible, and help them rebuild their lives.
RCGP president Professor Mike Pringle presents the award
The Rainbow Surgery continues to provide leadership and educational input across the group. The outcomes remain impressive, with more than 60% breathalysed dry at 3 months, and 38% patients dry over one year.
Some of those patients are now back in work; others are no longer facing eviction from their home.
GP partner Dr Arun Aggarwal said: 'We have achieved a more positive mindset among local GPs, who are now offering patients help with a very high chance of success.'
THE JUDGES SAID:
Alcohol dependency is a massive problem nationally and this unique approach is delivering great results. There is so much here that could be replicated in other areas
The GP Enterprise Awards are organised by GP magazine and GPonline, in association with the RCGP and sponsored by the MDU. Each of the six category winners receives £1,000 and has the chance to become the overall winner in a vote by the profession - and win a further £4.000.
To vote for this practice as the overall winner of the GP Enterprise Awards 2014 - and be entered into a prize draw to win an iPad Mini - vote online now.