WITHAM MP Priti Patel took a tour of a surgery which has undergone a turnaround in fortunes since a government watchdog found it required improvement.

The Home Secretary visited Silver End Surgery to discuss the findings of the latest inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

A report rated the practice good in four of five key areas, including safety, efficiency and management.

The surgery had been ordered to make changes following a damning inspection in January 2018, where it was rated 'required improvement' in all areas.

Service provider Virgin Care had only just taken on the surgery months before and vowed to make the necessary changes.

Service Manager, Pauline Doyle added: "We were very pleased to see Priti and show her the improvements we have made at the surgery.

"These have included three regular long-term GPs instead of regularly changing locums, a dedicated staff member to deal with repeat prescriptions and a new telephone system being put in place, which increases the number of lines into the surgery and provides a special line for repeat prescriptions.

"This has been a real team effort and it is great to show the progress we have made to Priti, but we realise we still have more to do as we want to provide the best possible service for people living in the community and, ultimately, be judged as outstanding by the inspectors."

Ms Patel said: "It was good to meet up with the new service manager who has been overseeing the improvements at Silver End Surgery.

"The inspection earlier this year provided welcome signs that the practice is turning the corner but I am keen to ensure that there is no complacency either at Virgin Care or among NHS leaders and that it continues to improve.

"I worked closely with Mid Essex CCG and NHS England to secure these essential service improvements for local patients.

"I will continue to monitor the situation."

The surgery is now open from 7.30am, Monday to Thursday.

There is now a weekly clinic for patients who require frequent blood tests and monitoring due to medication they take to reduce the risk of strokes or blood clots.

A monthly dementia café drop-in for those suffering with the condition and their carers begins this month.