Eltham Medical Practice is a GP practice with two branches, one located in Eltham Hospital, Passey Place and the other on Well Hall road. They have approximately 16,000 registered patients across both practices. We spoke to 10 patients at Passey Place.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out an unannounced comprehensive inspection of Eltham Medical Practice at Passey Place on 17 May 2017. They rated the surgery as ‘Good’ overall, across the areas of: safety, effectiveness, care, responsiveness and leadership.
Summary of findings
Passey Place is based inside Eltham Community Hospital. The building itself is quite plain and clinical, although it is well-kept with hedges and flowers at the front.
The centre is wheelchair accessible and there is a car drop-off point. There are local car parks nearby, and a bus stop a five-minute walk away. On entering the Hospital, the main reception area is large but there is clear signposting towards the relevant reception desk. The corridors leading to the surgery’s waiting area were clear and tidy, and there was attractive art work on the walls. Electronic check-in is available as you enter the main waiting area of the GP surgery. The reception area was busy and therefore did not offer much privacy for patients speaking to reception staff, but there were signs which asked patients to stand back.
Waiting for an appointment
Patients are called into their appointments via an electronic screen in the waiting area. Although there were no toilets in the waiting area, there were some in the main reception area of the building, although they were located quite far away from the waiting area. Although there was signage in the public areas with all the relevant directions, some of it was written in a small font making it hard to read and easy to miss.
The waiting area was somewhat busy, as it is shared by two different GP practices. Waiting times are not displayed in the waiting area. However, patients are informed to speak to reception staff if they have been waiting longer than twenty minutes.
Online booking was not advertised in the surgery waiting area and we did not see any sign for a hearing loop. There were also no signs for translation services and some of the information appeared to be out of date. There was no children’s area with toys. Additionally, there were no hand sanitisers available in the waiting or reception areas.
Ways to feedback
We did not see a comments or complaints box in the waiting area, or any signposting towards the surgery’s Patient Participation Group.
Access and hygiene
All ten patients we spoke to were happy with the opening hours of the surgery, with one person telling us that it was ‘open later than most surgeries’. Similarly, everyone we spoke to felt that the surgery was accessible, especially as there was parking very nearby. We asked patients what they thought about the cleanliness of the surgery and received a similarly positive response of either ‘good’ or ‘very good’; one person commented that the surgery is ‘always clean and tidy’.
Appointment booking and punctuality
Most people we spoke to rated the appointment booking at the surgery as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. One person did say it was ‘poor’ as they had waited two weeks for an appointment. Most patients told us that the punctuality of appointments was acceptable. Although four people said that they sometimes did have to wait past their appointment time, it was generally not too long.
We were told by the practice manager that patients are informed by staff about the GP Access Hubs. However, the majority of people we spoke to had not heard of them.
Treatment received by staff
We received mixed feedback about the treatment patients received from staff. Although eight people told us that treatment from their GP was ‘good’ or ‘very good’, two people told us it was either ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’. Six people told us that they tended to see a different GP each time. Although this was not an issue for some, others told us they would prefer to see the same GP consistently; one patient explained that as it was a three week wait to see a specific GP, she had ended up seeing someone else.
One patient told us that all the GPs at the surgery were excellent except for one, and another said that ‘some of the GPs are too inflexible in their practice; [they are] inflexible with taking patients’ desires into account’.
One patient was particularly unhappy with the treatment he had received from the doctor. He told us the care was ‘terrible….a nightmare. The GP is not interested’. He felt they just wanted to get him out of the appointment as quickly as possible.
Similarly, while the majority of patients we spoke to rated the nurses at the practice as ‘good’, ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’, one rated their treatment as ‘poor’. This patient told us they were ‘not happy’ with the care they received from the nurse as they were ‘not very helpful… they don’t make life easy for you’. This patient had asthma and would have preferred to see a regular doctor for it.
Involvement in decision making and information provision
Most patients we spoke to felt that they were reasonably involved in the decisions made around their care and treatment. However, one person told us that although they tend to have a discussion with the doctor around their treatment, it is often too short. Another two were similarly dissatisfied, saying the ‘doctor is not interested, they don’t have my best interests at heart’ and that ‘doctors don’t take my condition seriously’. With regards to information received from clinicians, eight people told us that it was ‘good’ or ‘very good’. However, one person was less satisfied, as they had not received any letters from their GP about a hospital appointment, which they should have sent him, and he had therefore missed it.
Medication and prescriptions
Everyone we spoke to was happy with the ease of getting prescriptions through the surgery and had not experienced any issues.
The majority of people we spoke to rated the surgery as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ overall. However, one lady felt that the staff did not pay much attention to what she said and often felt like they did not believe what she said. She questioned whether this was because she was Turkish or if it was ‘just the way they are’. Another patient told us that he felt like he had been ‘pulled from pillar to post’ in trying to get support for his mental health concerns at the surgery.