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Doctor's surgery provides 'outstanding' mental health care

30 Jul 2015

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has praised the mental health care provided by an Ealing doctor’s surgery – with support from West London Mental Health NHS Trust – as ‘outstanding’. 

Rob White, one of the trust’s primary care mental health workers, holds a clinic at the Cuckoo Lane Surgery in Church Road, Hanwell, twice a month. As a specialist, he sees Rob Whitepatients with more severe mental health problems and is always on hand for GPs or nurses if they need advice or help.

Rob’s work with the practice – and 14 other surgeries in Ealing – is part of a trust initiative to move mental health care back into the community.  Most patients say they prefer being cared for closer to home in the familiar surroundings of their GP surgery; their physical and mental health care is better coordinated; and providing support at a patient’s surgery enables a more seamless transition from secondary care back to the community.

The provision of mental health services at Cuckoo Lane – one of only 36 rated ‘outstanding’ out of 1,100 practices inspected in England – has led to 19 patients,  who would previously have been treated in secondary care, being treated at the surgery instead this year. This is part of a move across the trust’s services in Ealing, Hounslow and Hammersmith & Fulham which has seen more than 1,000 patients successfully move into primary mental health care services.

Rob said: “I’m very much part of the team here. I attend multi-disciplinary team meetings – and a clinician is always on hand to prescribe if I think a patient urgently needs medication. As a surgery they work very closely with me, clinicians are very good at liaising with me about patients and the staff are also very mental health aware. They thoroughly deserve the commendation.”

The practice is run by directors – both nurses – as opposed to the more conventional GP partner-led model and is the only nurse-led practice in the country. The CQC inspection found that “targeted treatment and support for local patients with a mental illness is offered to enable more integrated care outside of hospital settings”.

Director Julia Belton said: “What’s great is having someone like Rob you can turn to for specialist help. He works really well with the team and helps co-ordinate the care of our patients and takes on the more complex cases.

“Once we were called by a suicidal patient who was refusing to go to hospital. Rob worked out the reason, which was she didn’t want to leave her dog home alone. He somehow sorted it out and then the woman was happy to be admitted. Good care isn’t just about the medical things, it’s about the things that are important to patients too.”

Inspectors found the practice was providing a safe, caring, effective and well-led service, responsive to people’s needs. Care for patients with lung disease and older patients was also highlighted as outstanding too.

Michele Golden, CQC’s Head of General Practice Inspection for London, said: “We found that the practice is providing an outstanding service, particularly for people whose circumstances may make them vulnerable. This is a great example of what outstanding care looks like.”

For more information, please contact our communications team on 020 8354 8737 or at communications@wlmht.nhs.uk