New Eltham Medical Centre consists of two GP practices- one on Thaxted Road and one on Blackfen Road. Between them, they have 8854 registered patients. Clinical services are provided by three GPs (two male and one female) and two practice nurses (one full time and one part time.) We spoke to 4 patients during our visit to Thaxted road surgery.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out a comprehensive inspection of New Eltham Medical Centre (Thaxted Road and Blackfen Road Branch) on 5 November 2017. They rated the surgery as ‘Good’ overall.
Summary of findings
The surgery is set in a large, pleasant looking building on a busy main road. It is easily accessible by transport as there are bus stops in front of the surgery, and parking available on the side street. The front of the garden is tidy and well-kept, with a large sign in the front lawn making it easily identifiable.
There is disabled access to the surgery as a ramp leads from the main road to the electronic front door. On entering the surgery, it is clear where to go as there was a sign which reads ‘on arrival please speak to reception staff’. The reception staff were helpful and professional when we approached them.
Waiting for an appointment
The surgery’s main waiting area was quite small and had a pleasant atmosphere. It was bright and clean, with large windows, and magazines available for patients to read. There was a lot of information available in the waiting area, which was organised neatly into noticeboards and leaflet displays. We were also glad to see a poster advertising the surgery’s learning disability register and their online booking system. The patient toilet was very clean and accessible, and hand sanitisers were available near the reception desk. A health monitor was also available in the reception area, which patients could use for free by asking for a token from reception staff.
Electronic check-in was not available in the waiting room, and there was no electronic call system for appointments. The seating is placed directly in front of the main reception area, affording little privacy to those speaking with staff. There was a TV in the waiting area which was switched off. The waiting room was not overly child friendly, as there was no children’s area. We did not see any evidence of a hearing loop being advertised, or information about any translation services available to patients. We also did not see any signposting for Greenwich’s GP Access Hubs or NHS 111. The practice manager informed us that they had in fact purposefully removed Access Hub posters, as patients were misunderstanding the process and thought they could refer themselves. Instead they were informing patients as and when they felt it was appropriate.
Ways to feedback
A feedback box was available right next to the main entrance, and the surgery’s complaints procedure was available to read on the waiting room noticeboard
Access and hygiene
Everyone we asked felt that there was easy access to the surgery, and that it was kept clean and tidy.
Appointment booking and punctuality
One patient we spoke to told us that they typically wait up to ten days to get an appointment, and that if it was any longer they would seek to get a cancellation appointment on the day or ring NHS 111.
Patients also told us that the punctuality of appointments varied. One person told us they normally get seen within ten minutes while another told us that they were usually seen in ten-fifteen minutes but that sometimes it was longer. Another patient told us that although they generally had to wait to be seen, they did not mind doing so, as she would ‘rather the GP spent the time with you’.
Treatment received by staff
Most people we spoke to were happy with the treatment they received from their GP. One person told us that the GP was excellent. Another said that the partners were very good, but that the locum GP had been less helpful, and when she had a consultation with him he had advised her to make a second appointment with the partner GP to clarify information.
We also asked about the treatment received from nurses at the surgery; only two people had seen the nurse, and both commented that the treatment was good. We heard mixed feedback about the reception staff at the surgery.
Involvement in decision making and information provision
Most people we spoke to were happy with the information they received from the clinical staff and felt involved in decisions around their care. One person told us they ‘always have a discussion’ about any clinical information they receive from their GP.
No one we spoke to was aware of the surgery’s patient participation group.
Medication and prescriptions
The patients we spoke to did not have any concerns or complaints about getting their prescriptions and medication via the practice.
Most people we spoke to rate the quality of care, treatment, and service from the practice as ‘good’, with one person telling us they felt ‘well looked after’, although for one person this varied dependant on which clinician they were seeing.