A wholly committed practice team is crucial to achieving the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) Quality Practice Award (QPA) says its latest winner.
The practice team at Whitefield Health Care in East Lancashire, led by practice manager Nigat Sultana, is celebrating joining the 'elite few' in achieving the award.
120 out of the 8,500 general practices in England have received the award to date. And Whitefield has become one of only three out of 70 general practices in the East Lancashire area to complete the QPA process.
Sultana, together with her team, embarked on the "daunting" 18 month QPA journey in April 2009, which involved the completion of six modules ranging from patient centred care to the management of illness.
"Undertaking the RCGP QPA has helped me organise the team much better and it has made the practice more structured," she told Management in Practice.
"I couldn't have done this by myself. The practice team had to be fully behind me if I was to embark on this journey."
Sultana warns the road to the QPA was not all "plain sailing" and barriers such as uncooperative health visiting staff served to make the process "difficult".
A united team helped the practice overcome such barriers and win the award, said Sultana.
"I was utterly overwhelmed when I found out we had won the award and the whole team was so thrilled," she said.
"We work in a deprived area where there is a high demand for patient care and a lot of chronic disease, so getting an award like this means so much more."
Since winning the RCGP QPA, Sultana has been asked to share her experiences with other general practices in the East Lancashire area and play a supporting role in their QPA completion.
She has also been shortlisted for Practice Manager of the Year at MiP's General Practice Awards 2011, where Whitefield is also up for General Practice of the Year.