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Reading GP practice first in country to exit special measures following improvements for patients

24 September 2015
Priory Avenue Surgery
  • Media,
  • GP and GP out-of-hours services

England’s Chief Inspector of General Practice has taken a Reading GP practice out of special measures following improvements in the quality of its services. It is the first in the country to come out of special measures.

The Priory Avenue surgery in Caversham had been one of the first to be rated Inadequate under the Care Quality Commission's new approach to the inspection of GP practices and was put into special measures in November.

In the latest inspection, a specialist team of inspectors found that the practice had improved in four of the five key areas. The overall rating for the practice has moved from Inadequate to Requires Improvement. Inspectors rated the practice Good for being caring and Requires Improvement for being safe, effective, responsive and well led.

Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of General Practice, said:

"It is clear that the Priory Avenue surgery has made significant improvements since our original inspection when we had serious concerns relating to the safe and effective delivery of services and the leadership of the practice.

"Under a new management team, and with the support of NHS England and the Royal College of GPs, the practice has now set out to provide an accessible, safe and clinically effective service, which will improve the experience and outcomes for its patients.

“In the circumstances I am delighted to announce that Priory Avenue will come out of special measures and I congratulate them on the progress that they have made so far."

Ruth Rankine, Deputy Chief Inspector of General Practice for the South of England, said:

"At the time the practice had been going through a series of staffing changes, with a number of resignations affecting the staff and the service to patients.

"In contrast to our last inspection, we found a group of GPs and nurses providing clinical care at the practice who were enthusiastic, motivated and co-operating well with one another.

"There is still a lot of work to do and we shall continue to monitor the practice’s performance. I am confident that, if they keep going, Priory Avenue can set an example that others will follow.”

Dr Geoff Payne, Medical Director, NHS England, said:

“We understand that the rigour and process around regulation and inspections can be daunting for GP practices. Ensuring good quality services, which are safe, effective, well led and available to all is of great importance. We are pleased to see the commitment and hard work of the team at Priory Avenue Surgery being recognised and we commend them for their continued good work. NHS England, the North and West Reading Clinical Commissioning Group and the Royal College of GPs have worked with the practice management and team to develop, implement and succeed with planned improvements. We will continue to work together to ensure the necessary further improvements are made and the practice achieves an overall good rating in the near future. We hope other GP practices can learn and seek reassurance about the regulation process, helping us all to make patient’s experience of primary care second to none.”

When CQC inspected the practice in November 2014, inspectors identified 14 areas for improvement. The practice was rated Inadequate for being safe, effective and well-led.

In June 2015, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust took over as the provider in place of the previous provider, Specialist Health Services Limited.

During the latest inspection in July 2015, CQC found that there was a new leadership structure in place, and that staff felt supported by the management. The practice sought feedback from staff and patients, which it acted on. Staff had received appropriate training. They understood their responsibilities to raise concerns and to report incidents and near misses. Information about safety was acted on.

Inspectors found that patients’ needs were assessed and care was delivered following best practice guidance.  Patients said they were treated well and that they were involved in decisions about their treatment.

CQC has told the practice it must ensure that recruitment arrangements include checks on all staff and it must implement an effective system to deal with all complaints.


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Last updated:
29 May 2017

Notes to editors

CQC has published a full report on The Priory Avenue surgery today.

The previous report is available on this website.

Under CQC’s new programme of inspections led by Prof Steve Field, Chief Inspector of General Practice, all of England’s GP practices are being inspected and given a rating.

To get to the heart of people’s experiences of care, we always ask the following five questions of services.

  • Are they safe?
  • Are they effective?
  • Are they caring?
  • Are they responsive to people’s needs?
  • Are they well-led?

For every NHS GP practice we will look at the quality of care for the following six population groups: Older people, People with long-term conditions, Families, children and young people, Working age people (including those recently retired and students), People whose circumstances may make them vulnerable, People experiencing poor mental health (including people with dementia).

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.