Six people wearing suits and glamorous dresses standing next to comedian Matt Lucas on a red carpet at the HSJ Awards. One of them is clutching a trophy.

Thousands of patients in Tameside are enjoying 24/7 access to their GP practice – and it has now caught the eye of healthcare industry leaders.

The Brooke Surgery in Hyde has been rewarded by industry trade publication, the Health Service Journal (HSJ), for building an in-house online system for accessing a GP practice at all times of the day and night.

Led by GP partners Dr Nabeel Arshad, Dr Shay Kuponu and Dr Ash Faruq, the system was built during the Covid-19 pandemic, giving patients instant access to clinicians online and inspiring other GP practices in Greater Manchester and beyond, winning it the primary and community care provider of the year award.

The HSJ Awards promote excellence in healthcare. They encourage sharing of best practice, methods of improving patient outcomes, and innovation to drive better services.

The Brooke’s system means patients can ask for medical advice, organise in-person, telephone, and video GP appointments with an average of five hours from request to appointment. Since it was introduced in 2020, the surgery’s registered patients list has grown by 80% thanks to an unprecedented amount of referrals and word of mouth.

Awards ceremony

It was one of three Greater Manchester winners at a glitzy ceremony who were presented with their awards by comedian Matt Lucas. The judging panel included more than 190 influential people from the healthcare community. They judged all finalists and winners against five criteria: ambition, outcome, spread, value and involvement.

Dr Kuponu said: “The Brooke Surgery team have transformed primary care in Tameside by providing unprecedented levels of 24/7, 365 day-a-year access to upwards of 18,500 patients.

“The average time from a patient first making a request to the patient completing their appointment is within five hours – including face-to-face appointments. The Brooke Surgery is now a highly-rated NHS GP practice on Google – receiving a rating of 4.7 with over 690 patient reviews and our patients no longer have the 8am rush for appointments, and A&E and 111 referrals have reduced.

“As NHS Greater Manchester is continuing to improve access to primary care services over the next five years as part of its primary care blueprint, The Brooke Surgery team is excited to share learnings we have developed with Greater Manchester as a whole.”

The Brooke Surgery was among a record-breaking 1,456 entries, 223 organisations, projects and individuals who made it to the final shortlist following two rounds of judging.

Alastair McLellan, editor of the HSJ, said: “What better year than the 75th anniversary of our wonderful and world-leading NHS to be able to applaud all those who were recognised as worthy winners at the 2023 HSJ Awards.

“I’d like to extend my personal congratulations to The Brooke Surgery who scooped ‘top spot’ in their category.”

More winners

Other Greater Manchester winners included Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale (HMR) Local Care Organisation. It was awarded the Integrated Care Initiative of the Year for putting communities at the heart of decision making through system integration and learning. The modernising diagnostics award went to Greater Manchester Mental Health Foundation Trust (GMMH) for the ‘brainHealth’ Manchester initiative.

There was also highly commended recognition for Pennine Care and Greater Manchester Police’s mental health joint response service in mental health initiative of the year category, and for NHS Greater Manchester and Northern Care Alliance Foundation Trust (NCA)’s recruiting local talent differently campaign.

Meanwhile, NCA was a finalist in the Acute Sector Innovation of the Year category for embedding strengths-based approaches for a safe, person-centred experience from the point of admission, during and following hospital discharge.

And GMMH and University of Manchester were also shortlisted for mental health initiative of the year with their MCT-PATHWAY and PATHWAY-Beacons.

The full list of winners and those ‘highly commended’ can be found on the HSJ website.

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