The Village Medical Practice in Littleborough has been taken out of special measures after being recognised as making significant improvements to the quality of care by the healthcare watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC).


The practice was found to have good facilities and was equipped to treat patients and meet their needs. The healthcare watchdog previously inspected the practice in September 2016 and had found serious concerns and as a result the practice was rated as inadequate and placed in special measures.  However in its latest inspection in June, a specialist team of inspectors found that the practice had made a significant number of improvements.  In the report, just published, inspectors rated the service as Good in three of the five domains – caring, responsive and well led.  The other two areas safe and effective were rated as Requires Improvement.


England’s chief inspector of General Practice said:


I am taking this service out of special measures. This recognises the significant improvements made to the quality of care provided by the service."


Since January 2017 GP Care Services have made substantial changes to the practice including bringing the treatment rooms up to the required standard, developing an open and transparent approach to safety and created clearly defined systems to minimise the risk to patient safety.  As part of this work they have listened to the practice patients and made changes that were recommended including increasing appointment times from 08.30am – 6.00pm five days a week and offering patients timely appointments.


The CQC’s key findings included: patients said they were treated with compassion, dignity and respect; there was an open and transparent approach to safety; risks to patients had clearly defined systems in place to manage effectively; and there was a clear leadership structure and staff felt strongly supported by GPs and management.


The inspection also noted that the practice proactively sought feedback from staff and patients, which it acted on; information about services and how to complain was readily available for patients and improvements were made to the quality of care as a result of any complaints and concerns.


Patients on the day of the visit were interviewed about the practice and they said that they found it easy to ‘make an appointment with a named GP; and to get an urgent appointment on the same day’.


However, inspectors said the practice must establish effective systems and processes to ensure good governance in accordance with the fundamental standards of care and to ensure care and treatment is provided in a safe way to patients. The practice is currently rated as ‘Requires Improvement’ and will have a follow up inspection in six months time.


Gail Whitehead, Chief Officer of GP Care Services said:


“I am delighted that this practice has moved out of special measures, this is a testament to the hard work of the staff and recognises the significant improvements made to the quality of care provided.”


“We are now ready to move onto the next phase of improvements to the practice that will look at bringing the rest of the clinical areas up to date and refurbishing the reception area; creating a sustainable living space outside the practice and refurbishing the car park for its patients’.  With time and effort invested by GP Care we believe in working together with the community to develop local services.”


A full report of the inspection has been published on the CQC website. Read the full report here.