CQC report says Devon Doctors out-of-hours service is in good health

CQC report says Devon Doctors out-of-hours service is in good health

OUT-of-hours medical services in Devon have been rated ‘good’ across all areas by regulator the Care Quality Commission [CQC].

Devon Doctors Ltd, which is responsible for the provision of the county’s out-of-hours GP service and NHS 111 helpline, was graded ‘good’ in all five assessment areas, which examine if the service is safe, effective, caring and well led, and if it responds to people’s needs.

The CQC, which regulates health and social care in England, singled out the organisation’s dedicated end-of-life service for praise, describing it as ‘an area of outstanding practice’. Inspectors also reported that all 60 comments provided by patients about the service, were positive.

Devon Doctors is a non-profit organisation made up of Devon GPs and has been delivering out-of-hours [OOH] GP services across Devon for more than 20 years. In 2016 it was successful in its bid to provide the NHS 111 service in Devon allowing OOH services and NHS 111 to be combined under one provider operating an Integrated Urgent Care Service [IUCS] for the county.

Rolling the out-of-hours and 111 helpline into one makes it quicker and easier for patients to get the most appropriate advice and treatment and also ensures that they have only one system to deal with.

The CEO of Devon Doctors Dr Justin Geddes believes the CQC’s report is a ringing endorsement of the organisation’s experience and expertise in providing these services.

“We’re delighted that the CQC judgement was universally positive in all areas of inspection. Such a strong showing across the board is testament to the hard work our staff and partners put in to provide the best possible care for patients,” said Dr Geddes.

“To be rated as ‘good’ across all areas demonstrates that we provide a consistently good and sustainable service.

“Devon Doctors is an experienced provider of health services, and we’re proud of our record, so it’s pleasing to have those efforts recognised. That said, we’re not resting on our laurels. We’ll continue striving to improve the service and, ultimately, the way we deliver care for patients.”

In his report summary on the service, Professor Steve Field – the CQC’s Chief Inspector of General Practice – said: “Staff assessed patients’ needs and delivered care in line with current evidence-based guidance.

“Staff had been trained to provide them with the skills, knowledge and experience to deliver effective care and treatment.

“Patients said they were treated with compassion, dignity and respect and they were involved in their care and decisions about their treatment.

“The service worked proactively with other organisations and providers to develop services that supported alternatives to hospital admission, where appropriate, and improved the patient experience.

“The service had good facilities and was well-equipped to treat patients and meet their needs. Systems were in place to seek assurances and report issues about the facilities and estates used by Devon Doctors.

“The service had developed a dedicated end-of-life service, which was led and coordinated by six designated staff. The team worked efficiently with local healthcare professionals to improve the care end of life patients received.”