GP Enterprise Awards 2013

The annual GP Enterprise Awards aim to seek out and highlight some of the best initiatives developed in hard-working surgeries that are the backbone of the NHS. The awards are run by GP magazine in conjunction with the RCGP and are proudly sponsored by the MDU.

This year's winners demonstrate the breadth and variety of general practice, adding up to a real celebration of innovation in the profession.

Outstanding practice team

Robin Lane medical centre, Leeds

The Robin Lane medical centre implemented a proactive model of primary care focused on wellbeing. The practice launched various initiatives to help them achieve this:

  • a wellbeing centre which contains a volunteer centre, café and an education programme led by clinicians
  • a community eye clinic
  • a community newspaper funded by advertising
  • an urgent walk-in centre for registered patients, which reduced overall demand for appointments by 26% (which won the Improving quality and productivity award)
  • a volunteer programme which co-ordinates self-help groups
  • an education programme led by clinicians
  • a smartphone app that allows patients to book appointments, order prescriptions, send secure text messages, and set appointment reminders.

A proactive care team was launched, employing a community matron and a healthcare assistant trained in intermediate care. This led to a reduction in hospital and practice visits. Overall, the practice saw reduced patient demand, increased list size, and freed resources to invest in new staff and services.

Innovative clinical care

Frome Valley medical centre

The Frome Valley medical centre reduced the number of patients frequently attending the surgery with symptoms not easily related to an identifiable medical condition.

The practice used the BATHE technique (Background, Affect, Trouble, Handling, Empathy) to help these patients develop the skills and confidence to manage their own health. BATHE aims to identify the problem, why they are struggling to deal with it, and ways to improve their confidence in tackling the issue.

When a patient requested an appointment, they were telephoned by the GP to establish whether a face-to-face consultation was needed. Patients were offered participation in a patient support group and a quarterly newsletter was implemented.

After nine months, the programme had saved £18,986 in GP appointments, unplanned admissions and referrals to secondary care.

Caring for vulnerable groups

Padiham medical centre, East Lancashire

Dr James Fleming launched the Green Dreams Project to provide local, community-based solutions to unemployment, isolation and reduced quality of life among patients.

Dr Fleming noticed that some patients had multiple problems such as substance abuse, educational difficulties, relationship problems, life crises, poor housing, financial troubles and low self-esteem. These factors were having a detrimental effect on their physical or mental health. Under the new project, patients are offered voluntary work that raises their self-esteem and provides a route to paid employment. Activities have included the development of derelict land and the creation of groups to tackle isolation.

The community interest company started in January 2011 with one project worker, and there are now five, handling referrals from nine practices across seven towns.

Some 27% of patients who engaged with Green Dreams have seen directly attributable benefit to their mental or physical health, and 20% have markedly reduced their GP appointments.

RCGP First5 award Overall winner

Dr Neil Metcalfe, York

This award is given to an individual GP who, in their first five years since passing the MRCGP exam, can demonstrate how they have made a positive and innovative impact on the NHS, by working to improve clinical care, patient services or healthcare systems.

Winner Dr Neil Metcalfe led a group of auditors whose aim was to determine whether the Ayling Inquiry's recommendations on chaperone policy in acute trusts had been implemented in England.

This led to the publication of follow-up study of chaperone use by hospital consultants, which revealed inter-specialty differences for male intimate examinations despite national recommendations. It also highlighted the medico-legal danger of only a minority of consultants documenting the presence of a chaperone for intimate examinations. Dr Metcalfe's own audit of breast examination documentation at a GP surgery led to a 300% increase in such documentation.

He has published more than 20 articles on a range of subjects, including advice on diabetes pen injection techniques in the BMJ and a critical analysis of the MRCGP AKT as an assessment tool in Education for Primary Care.

He has worked as a peer reviewer for the BMJ, and is a reviewer of the RCGP's e-learning modules.

Dr Metcalfe was a founder of a First5 GP group in York and regularly organises external speakers for the group and for local GP registrars.

He has completed the PGCME and runs two successful student selected components at Hull York Medical School.

Best use of media and technology

Summercroft surgery, Orpington, Kent

The practice introduced a barcoding system to streamline the administration of its flu vaccination clinics. Previously, the practice had posted personalised invitations to eligible patients for flu jabs, which included a tear-off slip that they would bring with them to the clinic for data entry.

By adding a barcode on the tear off slip with the patient's NHS number which automatically updated a spreadsheet, the practice dramatically reduced staff time and cut costs – it took two hours for data entry instead of spending 40 hours manually typing it in.

Improving quality and productivity

Robin Lane medical centre, Leeds

This practice launched an urgent care walk-in service for their registered patients, reducing the overall demand for appointments by 26%.

The walk-in service runs from 8am to 12pm, as part of its strategy to move away from an appointment-based approach for urgent care. Patients are asked to complete a consultation prep form to describe their symptoms and what they would like to get from the consultation.

Practice business partner Methven Forbes said the system removed the patient's anxieties about obtaining an appointment: 'The patient simply turns up and is seen in about 10-25 minutes at the latest.'

As well as reducing the overall demand for appointments at the practice by 26%, the clinic has led to an overall reduction in A&E attendance by 10%, based on CCG figures. Patient satisfaction has also increased, with complaints now averaging less than one per month, and one per quarter regarding appointments.

We would like to congratulate all the winners of the categories on their hard work and inspiring ideas.

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