IMG_9800A GP practice which has spent the last 30 years caring for Oxford’s homeless population has been praised in a recent inspection.

Luther Street Medical Centre, which is run by Oxford Health NHS FT, was inspected as part of a trust-wide Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection in November.

The inspectors praised staff at Luther Street for visiting homeless patients in remote locations where other services could not and their use of a number of innovative treatment programmes.

Luther Street celebrated its 30th birthday earlier last year. It was initially established in 1985 to help Oxford’s homeless population, many of whom were falling through the cracks in the healthcare system. Originally set up in a temporary hut, it now has treatment rooms for physical and mental health assessments, podiatry care, dental services and others.

Luther Street practice manager Stephen Moore said: “There is a massive desire from all the team here at Luther Street to provide the best possible care that we can for our patients.

“The work we do is challenging, but so rewarding for us when we know that the care and support we provide has a profound effect on our patients’ lives.

“We are also pleased that the work we do through our patient participation group was among a number of aspects of the care we provide that was recognised as being outstanding.

“A big reason why the care we provide is so effective is because we include our patients and services users and adjust our service delivery in response to the feedback we get.”

The CQC report, which was released on Christmas Eve, gave Luther Street a ‘good’ overall rating.

In its summary of findings, the CQC report stated:

  • The practice is responsive to the differing needs of its patient population
  • The practice has a clear ethos to improve the health of vulnerable and excluded groups
  • Patients were treated with compassion, dignity and respect
  • Innovative approaches were used to improve patient health

The report also identified several areas where the care provided by Luther Street was outstanding. These included:

  • Visiting homeless patients in remote locations that other services would find difficult to do, ensuring they get the care and treatment they need
  • Involving patients in the delivery of the service via its award-winning patient participation group
  • Innovative treatment regimes are employed at the health centre, including an alcohol reduction programme that doesn’t involve any medication