Image Credit: Matthew King
The Kimberlow Hill Unity Health GP surgery provides a “good” service to its visitors, according to a report from the Care Quality Commission filed early last month. The surgery, which has been criti-cised for long GP wait times, andquestionable care, is mainly usedby students from the surroundingarea. The “good” rating does indicate something of a recovery for the outlet, which has been plagued with various issues since its opening in 2018 when it replaced the old surgery on main campus west.
Kimberlow Hill was let down by a number of factors, including its ability to regularly review patients, particularly those with long term conditions. It was also criticized for problems with longer-term monitoring that stopped it picking up issues like cancer through cervical screening.
The final area where inspectors looked for improvement was the quality of service provided by the new phone lines, that enable patients to book appointments without physically attending the surgery. Kimberlow is the principal point of access to NHS treatment for York’s students. It serves 23 000 people in York, across both University campuses, and the Fulford, Heslington, and Osbaldwick areas of town. 65 per cent of its patients are students.
The report made clear that the surgery is designed to serve an area that rates very low on the index of multiple deprivations (10.) This makes it one of the least deprived areas in England. Despite this, the surgery was under “special measures” until February last year. The CQC had been reacting to patient criticism that slated Unity as “abysmal,” “horrendous” and “almost laughably bad” in reviews posted on an NHS Choices website. MPs had also previously complained about the quality of care at Kimberlow, with Conservative York Outer MP Julian Sturdy, and Labour York Central MP Rachael Maskell both stepping in to attempt to resolve the problematic conditions at the surgery: even in the middle of this year, it was rated the worst in York by residents for several factors.
Unity Health now rates as“good”, and has services that were described in the report as “caring”, “safe”, “responsive”, and “well-led”.The inspectors did admit that many of the measures put in place to improve the surgery were “in their infancy”, and thus, hard to test appropriately. Following this new rating of “good”, the practice can now expect a visit in the next five years, and an end to the scrutiny that it has faced over the last couple of months.
Speaking to Nouse, Practise Managing Partner Lou Johnson emphasised the practice’s desire to have a better relationship with students. “We are extremely proud of our staff, that worked exceptionally hard to achieve that level. We have worked really closely with the regulars, and also Steph Hayle.”‘Being able to have that link, and hear the student voice and ensure that influences our decisionmaking is really important to us.”