The much-maligned Horsefair doctors surgery in Banbury has a new clinical director who is confident about turning it around.
Tim Holt has called Banbury home for the last three years and for the last two years he was the lead GP in a practice in Earls Court, London.
Now he has taken on the task of addressing problems at the surgery which was placed into special measures after a May Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection.
In a follow-up CQC inspection at the end of August, inspectors gave it an overall rating of ‘inadequate’.
Less than two weeks into his new position Dr Holt sat down with the Banbury Guardian to address the challenges ahead.
Dr Holt said: “ I am a GP, I’ve worked in lots of different environments; a large town practice like this for ten years, inner city London and rural north Yorrkshire.”
Horsefair serves 16,200 people from Banbury and the surrounding areas.
Dr Holt said: “ The practice has been through a really difficult time and we are needing to turn things around with it in collaboration with the patients.
“We have a fantastic patients participation group chaired by Eric Woodhouse, they’ve been very supportive. The Oxfordshire CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) have been very supportive and we’re very grateful for that.”
Of the areas the August inspection highlighted as needing improvement continuity of care and a lack of consistent GPs are the ones the Dr Holt has identified as most pressing to his patients.
Dr Holt said: “The most important thing that people need here is to resume that feeling that they’ve got a personal GP.
“It’s very difficult in the modern NHS environment for practices because most GPs, myself included, have roles outside the practice and there is rising demand on primary care and recruitment problems.”
He added: “I am here now permanently, we have two other doctors that have signed up to be here regularly and of the locums we’ve got we like to get longer term locums so they can provide some continuity.”
The other main complaint patients and the CQC report of the surgery made is the inability to get through on the phone lines to make appointments.
Dr Holt said: “That’s the most urgent problem we have to sort out. We are in the process of increasing the number of phone lines and the number of staff to answer them.
“That is absolutely key. People are dissatisfied simply because they can’t get through.”
He added: “I’m really enjoying working here and I’m getting good feedback from patients.”