Two social enterprises and members of Urgent Health UK (UHUK), the body representing nearly half of all NHS 111 and Out of Hours GP providers in the country, are the first to be rated as ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Cumbria Health on Call (CHoC), and Shropdoc are the only providers in the sector to receive the rating due to their responsiveness to patient needs.
ChoC was the first Out of Hours provider to receive the ‘Outstanding’ rating in April 2017. The service impressed CQC inspectors with its use of telehealth appointments to cut the average patient waiting time for a base or home visit down from 142 minutes to 32 minutes. It also worked closely with North West Ambulance Service to ensure that in 93% of cases requiring ambulance attendance the patient avoided hospital admission.
Shropdoc received the second ever ‘Outstanding’ rating for an Out of Hours service in June. It was praised by the CQC for proactively responding to the needs of patients when other services commissioned to do so could not, and using innovative methods to cut hospital admissions and support other care providers. This was done through providing them with extra clinical support at times of pressure, and also the development of an oncology service.
The two providers received the ‘Outstanding’ rating for a number of reasons:
- Both were considered to be well led and had their leadership rated as ‘Outstanding’ by the CQC
- Shropdoc put in place useful systems for managing complaints and concerns, and shared their learnings with other providers and Care Commissioning Groups
- The service also received an 'Outstanding' rating for its patient care
- Overall 91% of Shropdoc’s patients were satisfied with their experience of the service
- CHoC was considered to be highly responsive to the needs of the 50% of their patient population spread across rural and remote settlements
- Overall 91% of CHoC’s patients said ‘they had confidence and trust in the people seen or spoken to’
The news highlights the effectiveness of social enterprises, such as those represented by UHUK, in providing care and value to local communities instead of focusing on profit margins. This enables them to more flexible in meeting the needs of patients and provide more cost effective services than standard private providers.
There are 38 social enterprise providers in the out-of-hours sector specifically, covering 56.1% of the population. UHUK members serve 41.6% of this market.
Commenting Simon Abrams, Chair of UHUK, said:
“This is a great result for both CHoC and Shropdoc, and highlights how effective social enterprise models can be in providing well led, responsive and comprensensive out of hours care.
“The out of hours sector has shown immense resilience to severe workforce pressures such as GP shortages and rising clinical indemnity costs among other things.”
Commenting Susan Blakemore, Chief Executive of CHoC, said:
“I am delighted that the hard work of our clinicians and all our staff has been recognised. I know that the CHoC team goes above and beyond our expectations on a regular basis because our patients tell us they are happy with the service, but to have it confirmed that we are offering Cumbria an outstanding service is a real endorsement of the energy and enthusiasm of our teams across the county.”
Commenting, Ian Winstanley, Chief Executive of Shropdoc, said:
“I’m really glad that the CQC has recognised the huge efforts Shropdoc’s staff go to in providing the very best patient care. We are proud to have received such a high rating as well as the hugely positive feedback from our patients, and we will continue to improve patient experiences and support other local providers.”