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Orchard House in Newmarket gets 'outstanding' rating

Staff at Newmarket's Orchard House are delighted after the practice was named one of the country's best by the health watchdog
Staff at Newmarket's Orchard House are delighted after the practice was named one of the country's best by the health watchdog

A Newmarket surgery is celebrating after being named as one of the best in the country by the health watchdog.

The Orchard House surgery in Fred Archer Way, which provides health care to 10,500 patients, has been rated ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for delivering outstanding, well-led services which were responsive to people’s health care needs.

Singled out for particular praise was the quality of care given to specific population groups including older people, those with poor mental health and young people.

The practice is one of 11 which make up Suffolk Primary Care and the surgery’s team consists of six GPs, a nurse practitioner, practice nurses, a health care assistant, dispensary staff and reception and administrative staff.

Among the many examples of high quality and safe care contained within the report included involving patients in regular reviews of the medicines they took, providing daily ward visits to the town’s community hospital and the effective delivery of meaningful end of life care. Practice staff were said to treat patients with kindness, compassion and respect.

Dr Tom McGonigle, GP partner at Orchard House GP Surgery, said: “All our staff work very hard for our patients so it’s certainly pleasing to have that work recognised with this rating.

“We put our patients first and, despite the challenges facing the NHS, are determined to continue to do our very best to support their good health and wellbeing. I would also like to acknowledge the support of our patients in helping to achieve this rating.”

According to the report the practice understood the needs of its population and improved services in response to those needs and highlighted how it offered appointments at lunchtimes to accommodate patients working in the racing industry whose work patterns who could not attend appointments during the traditional morning or afternoon slots.

It offered a minor injuries service, where patients could attend during practice opening hours and would be seen by a clinician. Emergency appointments were available every day with the nurse practitioner. When these had been booked, any further requests to be seen urgently were undertaken by a GP.

Inspectors also highlighted how practice staff actively audited drug abuse in response to its local population needs.

“The area’s main industry was horse racing and the practice explained they were aware that ketamine and cocaine abuse was a known issue relating to people working in the racing industry,” it said and added that one of the doctors took a special interest in the wellbeing of these patients and had good links with an drug abuse support service, to which they referred patients when necessary. The support service visited on a regular basis to improve access to these services.

The practice was also ‘dementia friendly’ with a member of staff trained as dementia champion and provided a high standard of care for ‘vulnerable’ groups including transgender patients and those suffering from opiate abuse.

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