Summary of report content
Healthwatch Hackney undertook an Enter and View visit to Abney House Medical Centre because of its decision to close. It wanted to consult with both staff and patients as to how the service closure was affecting them.
Despite a letter and email sent to the practice manager one week beforehand, the staff were not aware of Healthwatch Hackney’s statutory visit. Both entrance and waiting room were very sparse due to the upcoming closure and loss of patients. There were very few patients in the Centre on the morning of the visit. Children’s play and puzzle equipment was located within the waiting room area.
Patients spoke highly of the staff and were very happy with the quality of care they had received at Abney House and were upset that it was closing.
The staff felt that the practice provided an old-fashioned style of service, which was very patient oriented, especially regarding the needs of their older patients. Staff said the practice provided high quality services, same day appointments and effective triage, due to its smaller size and patient-centred approach.
The Practice Manager was working directly with Turkish speaking patients to assist with re-registration. Patients were notified of the closure 12 weeks before the planned closure date, through two postal letters, emails and texts both from the practice and the CCG.
Recommendations and follow up
Healthwatch Hackney will develop a leaflet to distribute to the three main GP practices taking in new patients, previously from Abney House to ask for patients’ experiences and feedback regarding the closure and the transfer process.
In future when there are changes to or closures to GP services, the CCG should ensure that staff, patients and Healthwatch be advised at the earliest possible stage, and an initial meeting to advise staff and patients of the options for action. There should be a follow up meeting one month later for the GP practice and the CCG to meet with staff and patients to present their assessment and risk analysis regarding implementation of at least two options for recovery and sustainability of the GP practice. They should carry out a formal consultation process with the GP practice patients to determine the best way forward and ensure that Healthwatch and the PPG are actively involved in the consultation process, the determination of outcomes and their delivery.
The CCG should provide quality assistance for patients in the act of re-registering with another practice, including detailed information on individual GP practices to promote patient choice.