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CQC Special

How to achieve 'outstanding'

CQC compliance topped a recent Medical Protection survey of practice managers’ main concerns. We profile a practice who were recently inspected by the CQC, and interview two inspection managers about how practices can prepare for the process


A recent Medical Protection survey of practice managers identified that their main challenge is complying with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The Health and Social Care Act (2008) introduced the CQC’s fundamental standards. These new standards came into force for general practices on 1 April 2015 and replaced the CQC’s Guidance about Compliance Essential Standards of Quality and Safety and its 28 outcomes.

The new fundamental standards incorporate the previous regulations and are not too dissimilar; however they do include new regulations:

  • the duty of candour
  • the fit and proper persons requirement for directors
  • the requirement to display performance assessments

Practice profile
Cuckoo Lane Surgery, London

The CQC recently visited Cuckoo Lane and rated them outstanding. Sam McCaffrey visited the practice to find out why.

Tucked away in a quiet corner of the Hanwell Health Centre in London is a small general practice that is making a big name for itself. Cuckoo Lane Surgery is certainly not your average GP practice, it is an alternative provider of medical services run by nurse practitioners. While standard GP appointments are available, the vast majority of patients are seen and treated by nurses.

It was also recently rated outstanding by the CQC.

In its report the CQC found Cuckoo Lane to be outstanding for being well-led and providing responsive and effective services. The inspectors also found that the care provided to older people, people with long-term conditions, families, children and young people, people living in vulnerable circumstances and people experiencing poor mental health, including people with dementia, was outstanding.

How did the practice achieve this?

Carol Sears, nurse practitioner and one of the two directors of Cuckoo Lane, believes that being outstanding is all about going the “extra mile”.

“I think if you want to be outstanding you first have to be good,” she said. “To be outstanding you have to do extra. You have to be able to show you’re auditing your care, that you’re looking at your patient population and asking what they need and then putting that in place.”

At Cuckoo Lane they go an extra three or four miles. Among their successes, they were instrumental in establishing an area-wide approach to the three-tier model of shared care for diabetes; they provide spirometry tests, and a weekly clinic for patients registered at other practices, which has resulted in a 25% reduction in hospital admissions for COPD patients; and they are involved in a vanguard for whole systems integrated care.

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