A GP surgery that was removed from special measures earlier this year has been praised for going “above and beyond” to help patients with eating disorders.

Improvements at Unity Health - which runs the Kimberlow Hill surgery in Heslington and the Wenlock Terrace surgery off Fulford Road - were outlined at a City of York Council meeting.

They include the installation of a new telephone system in July - after The Press revealed in May 2018 that the practice’s telephone software had left patients hanging on the phone for hours, while trying in vain to make an appointment.

Louise Johnston, managing partner at the practice, told councillors there had been no written complaints since the new phone system was put in and the average time callers were on hold was three minutes.

But she said staff morale was low after the results of the national GP patient survey in July rated Unity Health the worst practice in York.

“We have worked really hard,” she told the meeting. “The national survey was disappointing for us - 76 out of our 23,000 patients [responded] meaning that we came out as the worst rated GP practice in York and after the work we’ve done that’s really hit our morale.”

She said the practice’s own survey had 959 responses - with 74 per cent of patients satisfied with their GP, 94 per cent happy with the nursing staff and 76 per cent pleased with the service from receptionists.

But she acknowledged improvements were still needed in some areas.

Dr Richard Wilcox from the practice said: “We’ve always prided ourselves on being able to provide on-the-day care to those who need it.

“I think this is reflected in figures which are available locally which show that per head we’ve got the lowest attendance at A&E of all practices. There is always unfortunately going to be a wait within general practice for routine appointments.”

And Dr Andrew Lee, director of primary care at Vale of York CCG, praised the practice saying: “They have worked very hard to recover. This is a highly scrutinised practice so they are under a lot of pressureand they have worked their socks off.

“This is an exemplar practice in some areas as well. I know of no other practice in my area that does primary care of eating disorders the way they do.

“They go over and above what other practices do.

“They could certainly do with more GPs - all my practices could do with more GPs - but there is a a national shortage.”