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Alston medical practice is rated as Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission

18 February 2016
Alston Medical Practice
  • Media,
  • GP and GP out-of-hours services

The Care Quality Commission has found the quality of care provided by the Alston Medical Practice, Cumbria to be Outstanding following an inspection carried out in December 2015.

Inspectors rated the practice as Outstanding for caring and responsiveness and Good for safety, well-led and effectiveness. Overall, the practice was rated as outstanding. A full report of the inspection has been published.

Under CQC’s programme of inspections, all England’s GP practices are being given a rating according to whether they are safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led.

The report on the Alston Medical Practice highlights a number of areas of outstanding practice including:

  • We saw that patients were truly respected and valued as individuals and were empowered as partners in their care. This was evidenced by the overwhelmingly positive comments from the GP patient survey, the CQC comment cards, patient participation group (PPG) surveys, the independent surveys, patients’ comments and the interaction between staff and patients that we saw on the day.
  • Patients told us that staff went out of their way to help and support them with their health and social wellbeing seeing their emotional and social needs as being as important as their physical needs. Because staff knew the patient population well they helped them through the bad times such as serious illness and bereavement and visited patients in the community hospital and day centre when they were admitted. Patients commented on the comment cards and in surveys that the GPs and staff knew them well and were caring, reassuring and supportive.
  • The practice is the highest market town in England and due to its rural nature the practice had implemented an appointment system which took into account the availability of buses arriving in the town from outlying villages. This enabled people who did not drive to access services without relying on friends and family to take them to the surgery. Due to the majority of staff being part of the local population staff told us that they knew all their patients and would book appointments around their needs.

Sue McMillan CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector of General Practice in the North says:

“It is very clear that this is a patient-centred practice that is responding well to the needs of the community it serves.

“It is always encouraging to report that GP practices are being proactive in their relationship with patients, offering services that help people keep well and seeking to continuously improve by listening to what people need and taking action to make a difference.”

“The fact that the community hospital and day care centre were on the same site as the practice meant practice GPs were managing the day to day medical care. This enabled a good working relationship between staff and the doctors and day care patients having ease of access to the GP.

“The innovative way in which the Alston Medical Practice is working is clearly paying off which is why we have found this practice to be Outstanding.”


For media enquiries, David Fryer 07901 514220 or call the CQC press office on 020 7448 9401 during office hours or out of hours on 07917 232 143. For general enquiries, call 03000 61 61 61.

Last updated:
29 May 2017

Notes to editors

CQC has published a full report on Alston Medical Practice.

Since 1 April, providers have been required to display their ratings on their premises and on their websites so that the public can see their rating quickly and easily. Further information on the requirement for providers to prominently display their CQC ratings.

In July 2015 CQC launched a new online toolkit for GPs, featuring examples of outstanding practice that inspectors have found in GP surgeries across England. The toolkit, at, intends to provide real-world, illustrative examples of high quality general practice that other providers can refer to.

About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.