STAR celebrates after achieving “Good” CQC rating

STAR celebrates after achieving “Good” CQC rating

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STAR staff celebrate CQC rating

The extended and out of hours GP appointment service for South Tees is celebrating after achieving an overall rating of “Good” from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Inspectors upgraded the South Tees Access Response (STAR) service rating from “Requires Improvement” to “Good” following an announced inspection in March this year.

STAR provides GP appointments on evenings, weekends and bank holidays from four locations in Acklam, North Ormesby, Redcar and Brotton as well as out of hours GP cover for patients requiring urgent home visits.

Patients can request evening and weekend appointments via their own GP surgery, online via their GP surgery’s website or by calling NHS 111 out of hours.

The inspection report recognised significant improvements to the extended and out of hours GP service which provides care to around 290,000 patients across Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland.

Inspectors assessed whether services were safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led and rated STAR as “Good” across all five areas.

They noted that:

• Staff involved and treated people with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect.
• Patients were able to access care and treatment within an appropriate timescale.
• There was a strong focus on continuous learning and improvement.

Jan Randall, chief executive for ELM Alliance Ltd which runs the STAR service, said: “This is a fantastic achievement which has taken a lot of hard work and dedication from all of our staff and I would like to thank everyone who has helped us secure this well-deserved and greatly improved outcome.

“We have implemented a lot of changes since the STAR service was first introduced in April 2017 and this rating really is testament to how far we have come.

“It is great to see that all of the patient comments received were positive. This is also reflected in the results of our own patient satisfaction survey in which 96% of the 200 patients questioned said they would recommend our service to family and friends.

“If you are struggling to get an appointment at your own GP practice or you can’t get there during the day due to work commitments you can ask your GP surgery or NHS 111 to make you an evening or weekend appointment with STAR.”

The full inspection report can be viewed on the CQC website at

We are ready for winter, are you?

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Health services across Teesside are taking steps to ensure they are fully prepared to deal with any surges in demand this winter.

Whether it’s identifying extra hospital beds or vaccinating frontline staff against flu, plans are in place to enable urgent and emergency care teams to cope with increasing pressures.

The NHS is also urging people to “Help Us Help You” by:

  • Checking on elderly neighbours and relatives during cold snaps to ensure they are warm and well
  • Getting the flu vaccine if you are over 65 or suffering from a long-term condition
  • Thinking pharmacy first – did you know 98% of the population live within a 20 minute walk of a pharmacy?
  • Ensuring home medicine cabinets are fully stocked and ordering repeat prescriptions in advance
  • Practising good hand hygiene and not visiting hospital within 48 hours of having a sickness bug
  • Being aware of the urgent care services available locally such as Redcar Minor Injury Unit and extended hours GP Hubs
  • Calling NHS 111 or visiting when you need immediate health advice but it’s less urgent than 999 – including mental health crisis support and emergency dental treatment
  • Booking routine GP appointments online via your GP practice website – including weekend and evening appointments at extended hours GP hubs (You will need to register with your GP practice to use these online services)
  • Only using A&E or calling 999 for genuine emergencies

Penny Bateman, Operations Director for Urgent and Emergency Care at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “As temperatures drop and the nights draw in we are busy planning for the anticipated increase in attendances at our hospitals during the coming months.

“Winter always brings a rise in road accidents, slips, trips and falls, but the biggest increase we see during this time is the number of people coming through our doors with respiratory problems – this increased by as much as 68% last year, but not all of these admissions really need a hospital stay, some can be treated as day cases or receive treatment in their own home, supported by community services.

“People can also help us reduce unnecessary admissions by following the “Help Us Help You” advice to help them stay well and ensure they receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

“As a Trust we have robust contingency plans in place which will allow us to create additional hospital beds if required.”

Dr Neil O’Brien from NHS South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Winter is a challenging time for the NHS, but across the region we have robust plans in place to ensure we are as prepared as we can be, as the cold nights and days begin.

“There’s a lot that you can do at home to stop any illness in its tracks. It’s never too early to stock up on those vital medicines that may prevent some common winter illnesses from developing.

“If you do develop a winter infection, we are asking you to act responsibly and stop the spread of infection.  Choose well, think pharmacy and self-care, GPs and NHS 111 and leave A&E for emergencies.

“NHS staff are working hard to ensure that those who do end up in hospital can be returned home quickly so we’re able to manage demand and free up beds for those who really need them.  Remember help us help you this winter.”

For more Help Us Help You advice click here

New home announced for STAR GP hub

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Middlebrough’s STAR GP hub is moving to brand new premises.

The hub, which provides extended and out of hours GP services, is moving from its current location at Park Surgery in Linthorpe Road to a modern, purpose-built facility at the Bluebell Medical Centre in Acklam.

Out of hours services will start operating from the new premises after 10pm on Saturday 7 July, whilst extended hours provision will begin from 8am on Sunday 8 July.

The move will provide a number of benefits for patients and staff including:

  • Being based in a quieter area
  • Use of a new purpose-built facility
  • Being situated on the ground floor
  • Ample free car parking
  • Being located on a main bus route into the town centre

Mandy Headland, Director of Operations for ELM Alliance Ltd, which runs the STAR Service, said: “Having listened to feedback from staff and patients, Bluebell Medical Centre provides a much better location.

“The brand new building is a ground floor venue in a quieter area with improved security. It’s also well situated to meet the current level of patient demand in the town.

“As with all our STAR hubs, this is not a walk-in service. Appointments can only be booked via a patient’s own GP surgery, online via own GP surgery website or urgent appointments by calling NHS 111.”