• Doctor
  • Independent doctor

West Heath Medical Centre

Overall: Outstanding read more about inspection ratings

194-196 West Heath Road, Northfield, Birmingham, West Midlands, B31 3HB (0121) 476 1135

Provided and run by:
South Doc Services Limited

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Background to this inspection

Updated 4 July 2018

South Doc Services Limited is the registered provider of West Heath Medical Centre (also referred to as the Virtual Centre throughout this report). South Doc Services Limited is a GP co-operative based in South Birmingham and has another location registered with CQC, South Birmingham GP Walk-in Centre.

The Virtual Centre is part of a pilot project initially funded by the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund. It involves over 47 GP practices in Birmingham, and covers approximately 300,000 registered patients.

The Virtual Centre is based at West Heath Medical Centre, 194-196 West Heath Road, Birmingham B31 3HB. More information about the service can be found on the website sdsmyhealthcare.com.

The service is registered to provide the following regulated activities:

•Diagnostic and screening procedures

•Family planning

•Maternity and midwifery services

•Surgical procedures

•Transport services, triage and medical advice provided remotely

•Treatment of disease, disorder or injury

The service has had a registered manager in post since April 2012.

The Virtual Centre provides two services for NHS patients:

•Non- complex telephone appointments with a GP or pharmacist (virtual service)

•Prescription Ordering Department (POD)

The virtual service started in 2015 and is open 08.00 to 20.00 Monday to Friday and 08.00 to 14.00 on Saturday and Sunday. The service does not see any patients face-to-face, all treatment and advice is given over the phone. The service does not provide home visits. The service is designed for non-complex patients with straightforward conditions.

The POD service began in October 2017 as a pilot project involving 10 GP practices. The service has recently received permission from the Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group to expand and offer the service to another five GP practices. Since October 2017 the POD service has taken over 30,000 calls. The POD is open Monday to Friday 08.30 to 17.30. The POD is a dedicated telephone service for patients to order their repeat medications or to discuss any medicine related queries.

The Virtual Centre employs one manager for the POD and one manager for the virtual service, nine GPs, (five male and four female) and one advanced nurse practitioner, seven pharmacists, supported by administration staff, and nine POD staff. Staff are supported by a senior management team, a human resources team and policies and procedures that operate across all services provided by South Doc Services Limited.

We have not inspected this service previously. We carried out a comprehensive inspection of this service under Section 60 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 as part of our regulatory functions. The inspection was planned to check whether the provider is meeting the legal requirements and regulations associated with the Health and Social Care Act 2008, to look at the overall quality of the service, and to provide a rating for the service under the Care Act 2014.

Overall inspection


Updated 4 July 2018

South Doc Services Limited is the registered provider of West Heath Medical Centre. The service has not been inspected previously.

This service is rated as outstanding overall.

The key questions are rated as:

Are services safe? – Good

Are services effective? – Good

Are services caring? – Good

Are services responsive? – Outstanding

Are services well-led? - Outstanding

We carried out an announced comprehensive inspection at West Heath Medical Centre on 17 April 2018, as part of our inspection programme.

At this inspection we found:

  • The service continually reviewed the effectiveness and appropriateness of the care it provided. It ensured that care and treatment was delivered according to evidence- based guidelines.
  • Staff involved and treated patients with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect.
  • Patients and GP practices found the service benefited them and allowed patients to access care and treatment in a more responsive way.
  • We saw that innovation and continuous learning was key to this organisation.
  • There was strong leadership at all levels of the organisation.
  • The provider actively engaged with staff when reviewing policies.
  • The provider had clear systems to manage risk so that safety incidents were less likely to happen. When incidents did happen, the service learned from them and improved their processes. However, we did see gaps in sharing of learning with all relevant staff.

We saw the following areas of outstanding practice:

The provider had developed an App (MyHealthcare Patient App) which allowed patients access to appointments, prescription management, medical records, lifestyle and long-term condition management advice. The App was available to patients in over 30 GP practices serving a patient population of 180,000 patients in the Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). The provider gave us data that showed approximately 6000 patients had registered for the app, with 3000 patients using it at the time of the inspection. Patients were able to leave feedback about the App directly through the App. Initial feedback showed 97% of patients were happy with booking an appointment through the App and 97% of patients were happy with the process for registering on the App. During the development of the App, the provider had consulted with patients and external agencies such as the Birmingham Sight Loss Council to ensure the App was accessible to patients with impaired vision.

The provider had formed partnerships with external agencies to extend the range of services they could provide to patients. For example, patients were able to book appointments with a physiotherapist through the virtual service instead of being referred to community services first. This reduced their waiting time significantly from weeks to a few days. The provider also provided data to show patients attended fewer follow up appointments indicating they achieved faster results. Patients were also able to book appointments with case workers through the virtual service if they required additional support with social issues. An independent report found high levels of patient and staff satisfaction and the initiative also showed significant savings in primary care.

The areas where the provider should make improvements are:

  • The provider should review their process for monitoring security of prescription stationery.
  • The provider should review their process for sharing information with all staff following learning from incidents and complaints.
  • The provider should consider how they ensure that all staff are aware of alerts relevant to their role.

Professor Steve Field CBE FRCP FFPH FRCGPChief Inspector of General Practice