Spectrum Community Health is first in the country to be awarded by the RCGP for clinical excellence

Spectrum Community Health CIC has been awarded with the Royal College of General Practitioners’ (RCGP) prestigious Prison Quality Practice Award (pQPA) – the highest award attainable from the RCGP and the first of its kind in the UK – for the healthcare services the social enterprise provides at HMP & YOI New Hall. The award was presented to Spectrum by the President of the RCGP, Professor Mike Pringle at HMP & YOI New Hall on Wednesday 28th May. pQPA is a quality assurance process designed to improve patient care and recognising both clinical and organisational Excellent Practice, delivered by every member of the primary care practice team.

The RCGP is a professional membership body committed to improving patient care, GP training and clinical standards. The RCGP has had available Quality Practice Awards to all UK GP practises since 1996, which is the gold standard award given after a very detailed assessment. Now, the RCGP has extended its standard to include prison environments and Inspectors piloted their first ever assessment visit with the prison healthcare team at HMP & YOI New Hall in August 2013. Spectrum Community Health provides primary care services at New Hall but acts as part of an extended team that includes the prison authorities and local teams within the prison. The team also supports the prisoners’ journey to improved health, even after release from prison.

As a result of the visit by Inspectors, Spectrum was accredited as achieving excellence in three modules of the pQPA: Learning Organisation, Records and Practice Team – well on the way to achieving the full pQPA award. This achievement again, was the first of its kind in the UK.

The second stage of assessment by the RCGP Inspectors (conducted in March 2014) looked at excellence in three remaining modules, which then makes up the whole assessment for the award. The modules were: Management of Illness, Patient Centred, Special Groups. Inspectors then awarded Spectrum as having achieved the full Prison Quality Practice Award.

The assessment of Spectrum’s healthcare services at HMP & YOI New Hall, a closed female prison based in Wakefield, marked the culmination of several years’ work by the RCGP in adapting the quality award for the prison healthcare environment. The main challenge has been to take into account the specific needs and healthcare issues for prison populations.

Dr. Ken McLean, RCGP lead for Prison Quality Practice Award, said:

“There is a principle that those patients in secure environments should receive equivalent care to those in general practice. This is particularly so with the moves of healthcare in prisons from the prison services to the NHS. It follows that the best level of care in prisons should equate to the best level of care in General Practice.

“It was great to see that the prison service at HMP & YOI New Hall and Spectrum’s healthcare team were keen to be involved in the piloting of our very first QPA for prisons. At the end of the visit the assessors came away with the feel good factor that a QPA assessor has when they have just visited a great team.”

To achieve a Quality Practice Award, a successful practice has to produce written evidence on around 130 criteria evidencing that good practice has been met and achieved. This is followed up by a full day assessment visit to verify the accuracy of the written material and provide developmental advice for the practice to consider for the future. The award lasts for five years.

The assessment visit at New Hall focused on three modules: Learning Organisation (which examines how the practice team develops and continually improves its skills, procedures and practises); Records (focusing on the standard of record-keeping, an area which can impact upon the quality of care provided to a patient); and Practice Team (which looks at how the team operates, works within robust procedures, how the team is supported and trained, communicates and maintains a good level of physical and mental health with all members and ensure that the environment for patients and the team is at the necessary standards). The RCGP then reviewed the remaining three modules: Management of Illness (looking at how the team uses management plans and pathways for the care of patients); Special Groups (which examines team’s approach to complex patients and how challenges around these difficult issues are dealt with); and Patient Centred (monitoring patient and carer experience and how the team responds to patients’ needs and wishes.)

The Spectrum Nursing team has been central to the achievement of the pQPA award, which sees the nurse role as integral. Nurses have demonstrated that the team reviews practises as a whole pathway rather than individual elements. Partnership working is encouraged with other healthcare providers and with the prison.

Claire McGuire, Head of Secure Environments at HMP & YOI New Hall, for Spectrum Community Health, said:

“Achieving the pQPA Award is testament to the high quality healthcare team we have within the prison. By ensuring that the team is focused, supported and works together well and in partnership with the prison service, we continue to provide the highest standard of healthcare to all our patients.”

Diane Pellew, Governor of HMP & YOI New Hall, said:

“This award is the culmination of several years of hard work and continuous improvement working with female prisoners who can be challenging, damaged and very needy but also rewarding to work with. Many of the women come from difficult, complex and often impoverished backgrounds.

“I am proud of the team and what they have achieved, especially as this is a ground breaking fresh look at what prisons provide and to be the first recipients of this award is very pleasing and reflects the exemplary standard of care offered by the Healthcare and wider staff team at New Hall”.

HMP & YOI New Hall continue to maintain and go beyond their every day expectations in order to demonstrate both clinical and organisational Excellent Practice in the delivery of primary care on a day to day basis.













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