EDITOR’S VIEW: Grade our GP surgeries if you like - but they must be given support

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Editor Stephen Stray writes on the new system for grading GP surgeries...

What makes a good doctors surgery?

The reason I ask is because our story highlights two in our area which have been rated as amongst the ‘highest concern’ in the country.

The Care and Quality Commission has produced an Ofsted-style league table so patients can check the quality of care on offer.

But it’s never quite that simple is it?

For example, and let’s be blunt, if you are not a smoker are you going to care that at Old Leake Medical Centre the report highlights ‘elevated risks’ about the number of current smokers with health conditions who had been offered help quitting? Possibly not.

People go to the see the doctor for different reasons and no two people will have the same experience. What’s important to one person may not be important to another. But it is important, and only right, to highlight when such areas are deemed to require improvement. And it is important we deliver these facts to our readers.

I’m all for grading systems and making it easier for us all to judge where is offering the best service. If you are sending your child to school you want to know which will give them the best possible start in life and if you are eating out you want to know the place you have chosen has a decent hygiene rating.

It’s all about empowering people to make an informed choice - and I am all for 

But what’s just as important to me is that the grading systems are used to ensure that the places which require that little bit extra help are given the support to ensure their services meet the required standards.

Clearly some of our GP surgeries are performing extremely well - most notably Westside Surgery in Boston and Stickney Surgery – and theses are to be congratulated, for a job well done.

What I’d now like to see is those which were considered to be at ‘risk’ be given the help needed so they too can meet these standards - the report shouldn’t be the end of the matter. After all isn’t that what we all want, the best possible service for everyone?