The practice pioneered a new approach to alcohol dependent patients, with a 60% success rate at three months, working with a team of ex-alcoholic counsellors at the Gainsborough Foundation.
They won the £4,000 prize and the MDU Enterprise Award, after readers of GP magazine and GPonline chose them as the overall winner from six separate category winners.
The scheme had earlier won the Innovative Clinical Care category, which came with a £1,000 prize.
Recognised by the RCGP for their work
The GP Enterprise Awards is an annual scheme run by GP in association with the RCGP, and sponsored by The MDU. The overall award will be presented at the college’s annual awards day in November.
RCGP honorary treasurer Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard, one of the judging panel, said: ‘Congratulations to everyone involved in this amazing project and for being named overall winner of the GP Enterprise Awards 2014.
‘At a time when GPs and practice teams across the UK are struggling to balance ever-increasing workloads with diminishing resources, it is astounding that we continue to witness such innovative ways to improve care and services.
‘This service is a true example of collaborative, community-based working in the best interests of patient care and I hope others follow its lead.’
Innovative service for alcohol-related problems
The Rainbow Surgery 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.
The Rainbow Surgery continues to provide leadership and educational input across the group. The outcomes remain impressive, with more than 60% breathalysed dry at three months, and 38% of patients dry over one year.
GP partner Dr Arun Aggarwal said: ‘We have achieved a more positive mind-set amongst local GPs, who are now offering patients help with a very high chance of success.’