Letter from the Chief Inspector of General Practice
We carried out an announced comprehensive inspection at iPrimary Care Limited on 25 July 2017.
iPrimary Care Limited provides online medical services, including prescribing services, through its website www.valahealth.com. Patients can request a GP consultation for assessment, diagnosis and management of non-urgent primary health care problems. The provider’s stated aim is to focus on healthy lifestyle, wellness and prevention, not just acute management of illness or injury.
We found this service provided safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led services in accordance with the relevant regulations.
Our key findings were:
- The service had clear systems to keep people safe and safeguarded from abuse.
- There was a comprehensive system in place to check the patient’s identity.
- There were systems in place to mitigate safety risks including analysing and learning from significant events and safeguarding.
- There were appropriate recruitment checks in place for all staff.
- We found patients being prescribed a range of medicines and these had been assessed to ensure they were safe to provide through an online service.
- There were systems to ensure staff had the information they needed to deliver safe care and treatment to patients. Staff were aware of and kept up to date with National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance and medical alerts.
- The service learned and made improvements when things went wrong. The provider was aware of and complied with the requirements of the Duty of Candour.
- Patients were treated in line with best practice guidance and appropriate medical records were maintained.
- The service had a programme of ongoing quality improvement activity.
- An induction programme was in place for GPs. Staff, including GPs, also had access to all policies online.
- The service shared information about treatment with the patient’s own GP if the patient gave consent.
- Survey information we reviewed showed that 13 of the 14 patients who responded said they were treated with compassion, dignity and respect and they were involved in their care and decisions about their treatment. Information about services and how to complain was available. Improvements were made to the quality of care as a result of complaints. There was a clear business strategy and plans in place.
- Staff we spoke with were aware of the organisational ethos and philosophy.
- There were clinical governance systems and processes in place to ensure the quality of service provision.
- The service encouraged and acted on feedback from both patients and staff.
- Systems were in place to protect personal information about patients.
We saw the following area of notable practice:
- The service followed up all patients post consultation/treatment via email, to ensure they had no concerns or had suffered any side effects.
The areas where the provider should make improvements are:
- Maintain a record of recruitment interviews.
- Have a system in place to automatically flag up potential multiple log-ins from the same patient.
- Review and simplify the process to recall archived notes.
Professor Steve Field CBE FRCP FFPH FRCGP
Chief Inspector of General Practice