A MEDICAL centre in Whitehaven has been rated as ‘good’ but how it responds to people’s needs ‘requires improvement’.

Lowther Medical Centre at Castle Meadows has been given the ‘good’ rating overall by the Care Quality Commission following an inspection on January 11, 2024.

During the assessment process the practice highlighted the efforts they have made to improve access to general practice, which ‘remains a concern for people’.

However, the assessment found the improvements were not yet reflected in the GP patient survey data or some of the other sources of patient feedback.

The practice had not collected their own patient feedback and feedback from other sources on access such as NHS choices was ‘poor’.

A total of 114 complaints were received in the last year and most of these were in relation to access, in particular the telephone access.

In the inspection report, chief inspector of health care, Dr Sean O’Kelly, recognised the work that GP practices have been engaged in to continue to provide safe, quality care to people while demand for general practice remains ‘exceptionally high’, with more appointments being provided than ever.

The inspector advised the provider to consider a formal action plan of responding to patient concerns about access to care and to continue with plans to gain more targeted views on patient access to care and treatment with a view to improving this.

No breaches of regulations were found during the inspection.

Lowther Medical Centre delivers services to a patient population of around 14,100 patients.

The practice population is made up of more elderly patients with 22 per cent aged 65+. The England average is 17.7 per cent. The practice also has higher levels of long-term conditions in its patients.

The medical centre is part of the North Cumbria Primary Care Alliance which also runs Beech House Surgery in Egremont, Cleator Moor Health Centre, Flatt Walks Surgery in Whitehaven, Sescale Health Centre and Bootle Surgery.