First GP practices win accreditation for quality end of life care

12 December 2012
Seven GP practices are the first in the country to be awarded Gold Standards Framework (GSF) accreditation for excellence in end of life care.

The practices received the quality hallmark because they demonstrated ‘substantial improvements in a number of key areas - crucially identifying more patients, not just those with cancer, as being in the final months of life’.

The changes mean patients are more engaged in discussions about their end of life care, enabling more people to die in their preferred place and more families to receive bereavement support. Areas of improvement displayed by the practices included: an increase in the number of patients on the end of life register with a non-cancer diagnosis; an increase in the number of care home patients on the register; and an increase in the number of people dying in their usual place of residence.

The GP practices were presented with the GSF Quality Hallmark Award at the GSF Annual Conference in London by Neil Hunt, Chief Executive of the Royal College of General Practitioners.

GSF clinical director Professor Keri Thomas described the award as a ‘gold standard’ in the care for people nearing the end of life.

She said: "The GSF accredited practices receiving the Quality Hallmark Award have demonstrated what is possible in primary care and that aspirations towards top quality, gold standard care for people nearing the end of life can be delivered with clinical competence and compassion in a systematic way, to include all people in the final year or so of life. These practices are an inspiration to all."

Dr Karen Chumbley of Castle Gardens Medical Centre, Colchester, one of the seven GP practices to receive the accreditation, said that GSF had helped her practice identify, plan and assess the care of 70% of its patients who die.

Dr Chumbley added: “GSF has changed the whole nature of how we practice and when we look back to what we were doing just two years ago it seems old fashioned and unsatisfactory.”

The seven GSF accredited GP practices are:

  • Clee Medical Centre, Cleethorpes
  • Castle Gardens Medical Centre, Colchester
  • Queensway Medical Centre, Lancashire
  • Market Cross, Surgery, Suffolk
  • Borras Park Surgery, Wrexham
  • Abbey View Medical Centre, Dorset
  • King Street, University Medical Practice

Forty care homes also received Quality Hallmark Awards for the second time, three years after their initial accreditation.

Maggie Stobbart-Rowlands, GSFCH lead, said the success of these homes demonstrated that GSF provides care homes and their residents with a long term, sustainable care model.

She said: “The GSF Care Homes programme has helped all of these homes embed quality care for all their residents as they approach the end of their lives. The workforce feels empowered which in turn means the residents are receiving the right care, in the right place, every time, protecting them from inappropriate hospital admissions and increasing their chances of dying in their preferred place of care – their care home."



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