One giant leap…

The Care Quality Commission has rated Sutton’s Dr Hafeez and Partner practice as ‘good’ overall. Previously it was in special measures and rated ‘inadequate’. This is a real good news story which shows what can be achieved when everyone works together to get there

In a report published this month this Surrey practice – also known as Sutton Medical Practice – was rated ‘good’ for being safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led following its inspection in May 2019. This means the service is ‘performing well and meeting CQC expectations’. The practice has taken very effective action to improve areas of below average performance which were slated in their previous inspection in January 2015.

Back then, the inspection aspects of ‘safe, effective and well-led’ were all judged to be ‘inadequate’, while being ‘caring and responsive to people’s needs’ were both found to be in need of improvement.

Though staff understood their responsibilities to raise concerns, safety then was not sufficiently prioritised and there were inadequate systems in place to monitor and manage risks.

Not all incidents and complaints had learning points identified which were acted on and shared with staff; as a result, there were recurring themes in the complaints that were received. Patients were found to be at risk of due to a lack of key pieces of equipment, and not all staff demonstrated the necessary competencies in relation to the safeguarding of vulnerable adults and children; administrative staff were acting as chaperones without training or a DBS check.

What a turnaround!

The practice, which has around 4,400 patients, is now providing care in a way that keeps patients safe and protected from avoidable harm; patients now receive effective care and treatment that meets their needs.

Practice staff dealt with patients with kindness and respect and involved them in decisions about their care. Patients could access care and treatment in a timely way and the practice now seeks, and acts upon, patient feedback. The way the practice is led and managed now promotes the delivery of high-quality, person-centred care.

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Head of Inspection for Primary Medical Services in London, Antony Hall, said, “I am delighted that Dr Hafeez and Partner have been taken out of special measures and have achieved a ‘good’ overall rating. This is an impressive achievement for a practice that was previously rated ‘inadequate’…this is a testament to the hard work of both the leadership and staff at the practice. I hope they can sustain this effort and aim for an even better rating in the future.”

Maintaining the momentum

In order to maintain this positive momentum – and to continue to improve – the CQC made two recommendations for the practice:

  • to continue to monitor areas where improvements to safety, clinical care and governance have been made, to ensure they continue to be effective;
  • to improve policies for handling significant events, whistle-blowing and complaints to make sure they contain enough detail, and to monitor complaints to ensure they are managed in line with legislation.

It has been quite a journey for the practice since 2015, with a number of CQC visits along the way, but they have stuck with it and succeeded. Hopefully, the next time the inspectors come to call, Sutton Medical Practice will be found to be performing exceptionally well and will receive the ultimate accolade – an ‘outstanding’ rating.

Many congratulations to Dr Hafeez, partners and staff on this significant success!

You can read the report in full on CQC’s website.

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