“Being outstanding is not necessarily about the size of the practice,” the Care Quality Commission has concluded after a three-year review of GPs in England.
In a new report, The state of care in general practice 2014 to 2017, the CQC states: “Rather it’s about knowledge of the population and the provision of a service that meets their needs. We have seen some smaller practices that provide really caring and responsive services.”
The report confirms earlier findings that there are a higher proportion of outstanding ratings in rural areas.
During rural practice inspections, the CQC said it had seen practices that are small out of necessity but which have responded well to the challenges of having a low population density in a very rural area and have adapted their practices to meet people’s needs. It said: “Some single-handed practices provide an excellent service because they are supported by good clinical networks. It is therefore important to support clinical networks for practice leaders to avoid clinical and professional isolation and enable practices to deliver high-quality care.”
In the report the CQC profiles the dispensing Coniston Medical Practice, Coniston, Cumbria, which is described as “embedded in and an essential part of the local community”. The practice was applauded for its role in reducing unnecessary ambulance call outs and A&E attendances and its compassionate services to address social isolation among its patient population. “Some of the patients had been reluctant to engage with healthcare services in the past. The GPs had overcome this and spent time getting to know these patients”, the CQC says.