Ferryview Health Centre is a GP Practice, located on John Wilson Street, Woolwich. It is part of the Valentine PMS partnership, which has 25,605 registered patients. On the day of the visit, we spoke to 10 patients.
On 10 August 2018 the Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out a comprehensive inspection of Ferryview Health Centre, where they rated the service as ‘good’ across all areas of: safety, effectiveness, care, responsiveness, and leadership.
Summary of findings
The building itself is large and easily identifiable with the name of the surgery written on a large sign above the main entrance. Although the outside of the surgery was clean and tidy when we visited, the building itself was somewhat worn and dated. The surgery is wheelchair accessible at the main entrance. There is also a pay-and-display car park to the rear of the surgery, although this is more difficult for disabled visitors to use as it involves walking up a set of stairs or going around and up a hill.
The inside of the building has a modern feel and was predominantly clean. On arrival there are two electronic self-check-in machines placed directly in front of the main entrance which are clearly signposted.
Waiting for an appointment
The reception area is clearly identifiable to the left of the entrance, with a queuing area. An electronic call system is in operation, using TVs in multiple locations. The chairs in the waiting room face away from the reception desk and were slightly apart, which offered patients more privacy when speaking to reception staff.
The waiting room is large with plenty of seating. Most of the chairs face two large TV screens; one was being used as a call system for patients’ appointments and in-between displayed relevant health signposting.
Waiting times and delays were not being displayed in the waiting area, although are usually available on request from reception staff. Signposting in the waiting area was extensive and well-organised, with information that was relevant and up-todate. It included information on NHS 111 and online booking of appointments, as well as the surgery’s most recent CQC ratings.
There are separate waiting areas aside from the main waiting room. One of these was a small children’s waiting area, which was located at the end of a short corridor. This was an attractive, child-friendly area with a children’s table and toys, as well as its own TV screen to call patients for appointments. It was well decorated and very tidy. The signposting on the walls had been well thought through, and included information for parents, for example on breastfeeding and child accident prevention strategies.
There was a separate ‘isolation room’ which the practice manager later told us was used in part for those with contagious illnesses, such as chicken pox. The name and sign for this room felt a little imposing.
We did not see any signposting for translation services such as Language Line (the CCG commissioned translation service available to all GPs) in any of the waiting areas.
Ways to feedback
We were very impressed to see that the waiting area had an excellent display advertising the surgery’s Patient Participation Group (PPG). This had information on what the role of the PPG was and how to join. It also explained what they achieved last year and what they hope to address going forwards. There was an additional, large banner advertising the surgery’s PPG placed very visibly in another area of the waiting room. Leaflets on how to join the surgery’s PPG had been left on the reception counter; these were eye-catching and informative.
There were forms and a box for the Friends and Family Test placed visibly just outside of the corridor leading to the consultation rooms. We did not see any other comments or suggestions box in the waiting area.
Access and hygiene
The area outside of the consultation rooms was clean and tidy, and doors were clearly numbered for patients. There were hand sanitisers available around the waiting and communal areas.
The patients we spoke to were happy with the opening hours of the surgery, as well as how accessible it was by transport or by foot. Similarly, everyone we asked felt that the surgery was clean and tidy, although one person noted that there was no running water in the toilet. We checked the toilets and found that they seemed to be working, although one had been closed with an ‘out of order’ sign.
Appointment booking and punctuality
The patients we spoke to gave mixed feedback about booking appointments. Although three people told us that appointment booking was either ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’, another three said it was ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’. Several people told us that there was often a two to three week wait before appointments could be made, which led them to attend the walk-in regularly instead. One person told us that appointments were usually so far away that they often did not bother to make one, and another told us: ‘trying to get an appointment to fit around my working schedule is nearly impossible, I have to wait two weeks’. One patient said it was hard to get through on the phones to make an appointment in the first place.
However, other patients told us it was ‘fairly easy’ to make an appointment, and one person said they only had to wait three to four days before they got one. We heard mixed feedback about the punctuality of appointments; two people told us that booked appointments could run twenty to thirty minutes late, and one person had been waiting half an hour on the day we spoke to them without being offered an explanation. People who used the walk-in service told us they typically waited an hour or two to see a GP, which they generally felt was reasonable.
Treatment received by staff
Most people were happy with the treatment they received from the GPs at the surgery, rating them as ‘good’ to ‘excellent’. It was noted by three patients that it was unhelpful to see a different GP each time. We spoke to the practice manager about the issues raised by patients having inconsistent GPs, who understood the concerns and informed us that the practice is working towards offering a consistency of GP for those with long term conditions or complex needs.
Most of the patients who had seen a nurse at the practice felt that they were treated well by them
Everyone was satisfied with the help and support they received from the reception staff, although one person commented that they acted slightly as a ‘gatekeeper’, and it would be nice if they were slightly more approachable (such as smiling more). Others described them as ‘professional’ and ‘very helpful’.
Involvement in decision making and information provision
Although most people were happy with how involved they were in the decisions made around their care and treatment, we did speak to a patient who felt it was limited by short appointment times. She felt that, similarly, information sharing was insufficient and commented “I would want more information. Sometimes they just tell you to look at a website. If you’re not good with computers, then you probably won’t bother”. Another person told us that involvement in decision making and information sharing varied depending on which GP you saw, and that some were better than others.
Three people we spoke to had heard of the surgery’s Patient Participation Group; one person commented this was via the posters in the waiting area.
Medication and prescriptions
Everyone we asked was happy with the ease of ordering repeat and picking up prescriptions, for instance commenting that it was an ‘easy system to use’, ‘straight forward’ and ‘simple’. One person did feel that clinicians sometimes ‘palm you off with something’ in order to finish the appointment but agreed that the actual process of getting prescriptions worked well.
The majority of people we spoke to were happy with the care and treatment they received at Ferryview Health Centre. The main issues patients did report centred around the difficulty in getting pre-booked appointments, appointment times not feeling long enough, having to see a different doctor each time and experiencing varying standards of care as a result.