GP practice with England's largest catchment area rated outstanding

A Devon GP practice thought to cover the largest geographical area in England has been rated 'outstanding' by the CQC.

Home visit: Outstanding Devon practice visits patients after hospital admission (Photo: JH Lancy)
Home visit: Outstanding Devon practice visits patients after hospital admission (Photo: JH Lancy)

Holsworthy Medical Centre is one of the most rural GP practices in England, covering 250 square miles. The surgery had 16,700 patients registered at the time of the inspection.

The practice received an overall ‘outstanding’ rating, with the same top rating in categories for being ‘responsive’ and ‘well-led’. The surgery was particularly praised for understanding ‘the needs of the patient list and the challenges of the rural location’.

Additional praise was given for collaborating with other agencies, for example women facing domestic violence meet weekly in face-to-face social care support meetings at the practice. Further praise was given as records showed that every patient who was newly discharged from hospital following an emergency admission received a visit from their GP within 24 hours.

GPs went the extra mile

Despite the challenges of the rural location, Ruth Rankine, deputy chief inspector of general practice at the CQC said that the practice had ‘developed a responsive service to suit the area’.

‘We saw may examples of this on the inspection such as the specialist clinics for diabetic retinal screening, which are normally offered at the main hospital more than 20 miles away,’ she said. ‘We noticed that the GPs carried out an average of four home visits each per day, travelling up to 15 miles on rural roads to reach patients.’

Professor Steve Field, chief inspector of general practice said: ‘Throughout the inspection we were particularly impressed by the way the practice shaped its service to meet the needs of its patients across a large stretch of our countryside. The GPs and all their staff deserve the credit for this outstanding service.’

Map: CQC practice ratings by CCG

The rating comes as the CQC published inspection reports for 40 practices. Holsworthy Medical Centre was the only practice to receive the ‘outstanding’ rating, while 32 practices were rated ‘good’, five as ‘requires improvement’ and one ‘inadequate’.

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