Surgery's care wins praise

PUBLISHED: 09:42 22 July 2015

The new Beacon Medical Centre. Ref shs 7755-23-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

The new Beacon Medical Centre. Ref shs 7755-23-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Archant

The quality of care at Sidmouth's Blackmore Drive health centre has been praised by independent regulators - but inspectors described the building as 'not fit for purpose'.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) rated the town centre surgery as ‘good’ overall, and ‘outstanding’ for its links to the nearby hospital and treatment of older patients.

They raised concerns about facilities for those with disabilities and new mums, but practice bosses say these are being addressed at the soon-to-be-opened Beacon Medical Centre. They are also in discussions over an upgrade to the long-serving Blackmore Drive site.

The CQC’s Professor Steve Field said: “We have rated the practice as overall providing a good service. Specifically, we found the practice to be good for providing safe, effective, care and well led services.”

He added: “The practice building itself was old and not fit for purpose.”

Professor Field recognised that the new Beacon surgery would be well equipped to meet patients’ needs.

The Sid Valley Practice cares for a 14,500-strong patient population, 40 per cent of whom are over the age of 65. Over the last five years, its dementia diagnosis rate has doubled to 52 per cent, largely due the hard work of Dr Louise Knight.

The patients the CQC spoke to said they were treated with compassion, dignity and respect, and the inspectors found that all staff learned from incidents.

Professor Field’s team said the corridor and toilets at the Blackmore Drive surgery were not fit for those in wheelchairs, and the premises lacked automatic doors. There was no audio loop for the hard of hearing and no space to breastfeed in private.

Reacting to the report, practice relations manager Kate Thomas said these issues will be addressed at the Beacon – and revealed that discussions are underway with NHS Property Services on upgrading the Blackmore Driver surgery.

She added: “We are delighted with the result of the CQC inspection, and overwhelmed with our outstanding rating in our work with the elderly.

“Our move to Stowford will move us away from the hospital but we will continue our excellent relationship.”

There is still no set date for the opening of the Beacon.

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