SKIPTON'S Fisher Medical Centre has been awarded an overall rating of good, with outstanding features, in a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection.

The inspectors visited the practice in December and said it was outstanding in the way it responded to patients' needs.

GP partner Dr James Thomas, who led the presentation to the CQC, said, “The CQC looked at many different areas of the practice, but they were particularly impressed with the way we engage with our community and how responsive we are to our patients' needs.

"We have a great team that is committed and focused on offering patient-centred care. We always try to pull out all the stops when people need us.”

The practice, which has been providing medical services in Skipton since 1885, employs nine doctors and serves more than 14,000 patients as well as offering a wealth of additional healthcare services.

The CQC acknowledged the outstanding contribution made by health promotion officer Emma Taylor in improving patients' lives through weight management, alcohol reduction and smoking cessation programmes.

There was also praise for the Practice Health Champions initiative which has created a varied programme of patient-led activities which give support and opportunities to those who may be socially isolated.

The CQC gave a further outstanding rating to the work of resident prescribing pharmacist Peter Marshall, who supports patients with medication queries, and the care homes team, led by Sharon Robinson, which provides support and health education to staff at 15 care homes across Craven.

Although based at Fisher Medical Centre, it is a Craven initiative, involving all local GP practices, and has helped to reduce unplanned hospital admissions by 60 per cent.

The CQC commended the surgery's GP Triage appointment system, which started in January 2015, and said its effectiveness was reflected in the national GP Patient Survey results which placed Fisher Medical Centre above average for accessible care and treatment.

Practice manager Linden Veitch said: “We are thrilled that the CQC has recognised the outstanding contribution the team at Fisher Medical Centre makes in providing a high standard of healthcare provision to our patients. We pride ourselves on continually striving to deliver high quality, continually improving, accessible care that is available when you need it.”