“It allows us to follow our gut feel” are the words of one healthcare professional at one of the two latest GP practices that have been awarded the Leeds Domestic Violence and Abuse Quality Mark.
Armley Medical Practice and Meanwood Group Practice have both been recognised for their efforts in implementing the standards that are designed to help those currently experiencing, or have experienced, domestic abuse.
At Armley Medical Practice a weekly clinic has now been set up offering four tailored appointments for those affected by domestic violence and abuse.
The purpose of the Domestic Violence and Abuse Quality Mark is to promote consistent and high quality service provision to women, children and men affected by domestic violence and abuse.
The practices have been working towards the quality mark after attending a training session organised by the Safer Leeds (Leeds City Council) domestic violence team and supported by NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
Marie Connolly, Care Co-ordinator and Healthcare Assistant at Meanwood Group Practice, said: “The training really opened our eyes that we could potentially be seeing a number of patients at any given point who could be affected by domestic violence and abuse. I was genuinely shocked to see how many cases are reported just on a single night.
“As a result of the training and our own efforts to proactively identify and support those affected, I can now follow my gut feeling and contact specialist staff to help advise me what to do.”
Dr Grant Syme from Armley Medical Practice, added: “We’ve really taken on board what we’ve learnt to implement a series of changes as well as having a GP champion. In addition to setting up the weekly clinic, we follow up cases where patients fail to attend appointments as this can sometimes be a sign that all is not well. This is a whole team effort, not only did clinical staff attend the training but also our administrative staff including colleagues on reception.
“On a personal level I’ve presented evidence at a case involving a victim and perpetrator of domestic violence. As part of the case I was involved in working with a range of partners so I’ve seen first-hand the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes.”
Jo Harding, Director of Nursing and Quality at NHS Leeds CCG, commented: “As a city we’re committed to tackling health inequalities and helping the most vulnerable people in our communities. There’s a wealth of evidence that shows the significant health and wider social impacts that domestic violence and abuse can have on the victim as well as other members of the family, especially children.
“Lessons learned from Domestic Homicide Reviews (both in Leeds and nationally) consistently show that both victims and perpetrators have contact with their primary health care provider more often than other services. I welcome the efforts of Armley Medical Practice and Meanwood Group Practice.”
Anyone affected by domestic violence and abuse can ring the 24 hour Leeds Domestic Violence Service on 0113 246 0401. For more information on other support services available please visit www.leeds.gov.uk/domesticviolence