Enter and view: Biggleswade Health Centre

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire conducted an announced Enter and View visit to Biggleswade Health Centre on 8th and 30th June 2015. The purpose of the visit was to engage with patients of GP Practices and understand how dignity is being respected, identify examples of good working practice and observe patients engaging with staff (clinical and non-clinical), and their surroundings. On the day of the first visit, to the Biggleswade site, the Practice Manager arranged booked slots for Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire representatives to talk to several GP's and members of their administration and clinical staff. This was in addition to speaking to patients in the waiting area. Representatives also undertook a tour of the premises to observe accessibility, including disabled access, the availability of patient information and condition of the building. On the day of the second visit to the satellite (Langford) site, Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire representatives also completed a tour of the premises. Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire representatives spoke with members of staff both clinical and non-clinical, and engaged with patients in the waiting room. The Practice currently has 13,531 patients registered. A total of 28 survey questionnaires were completed between the two sites. Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire representatives spoke with patients in the waiting room area of both surgeries. The majority of patients spoken to stated that they felt the main surgery at Biggleswade provided a good service and some patients stated the care was ‘excellent’ and ‘a good surgery’. Recommendations - HWCB recommends that urgent repairs are made to the steps leading to the front door of the Langford site as this is a potential trip hazard. - In light of the uncertainty shown by some senior clinical staff members regarding the complaints policy/procedure, HWCB recommends that a programme of Complaints Policy refresher training for all staff be implemented to include awareness of local support organisations that can advocate for patients. - HWCB further recommends that the Practice review their telephone appointments system as some patients are clearly frustrated with the process, particularly having to keep redialling rather than being kept on hold (in a queue), for the line to become free. - Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire recommends that this report is shared with the patients and staff (clinical and non-clinical) of the Practice and to advise that if they should wish to contribute any additional comments about the report, to contact Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire direct on 0300 303 8554. Service Provider response Dr Kirkham and Partners welcomes the Healthwatch report on our surgeries. We have noted the helpful comments regarding the interior of our main health centre and its carpark. The Practice had approved plans for the significant refurbishment in 2012 but the funding was withdrawn in the reorganisation of the NHS that year. The deficiencies identified in the report would have been addressed by this development. We have reported your concerns to the current Landlord, PropCo and we will continue our efforts to secure capital investment for this. We also acknowledge the observations with regards to our branch surgery at Langford and will work towards addressing those which are within our influence. Unfortunately, the carpark falls outside of this. Our appointment system is under extreme pressure due to the growing number of patients registering with the practice and with the difficulties of recruiting additional General practitioners. We have addressed and are addressing this by increasing the numbers of other highly trained healthcare professionals such as minor illness nurses. We encourage patients to book in with them where they are advised to do so by our patient liaison officers. We have considered the results of the patient questionnaire and will strive to address our performance in the areas of deficiency identified. We have to acknowledge that in spite of our best efforts, dedication and hard work; we will not always be able to satisfy all of our patients at any given time. We are, however, committed to continuously improving the quality of the service which we provide, Although we gain real time patient feedback via the methods outlined in the report, Healthwatch has highlighted areas for further training on the complaints policy. This has now been addressed. We would like to thank Healthwatch for their valuable work and the learning it has imparted and we would be pleased to cooperate with further visits in the future.

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General details

Report title 
Enter and view: Biggleswade Health Centre
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire
Date of publication 
Monday, 8 June, 2015
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 8 June, 2015
Date evidence capture finished 
Monday, 8 June, 2015
Type of report 
Enter and view
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Car parking access
Complaints procedure
Quality of care
Quality of staffing
Staff attitudes
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
How was the information collected? 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
All care professionals
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.