Merger of Westrop Medical Practice and Hermitage Surgery
We are delighted to announce that Westrop Medical Practice will be merging with Hermitage Surgery on the 30th November 2017.
1. Why are Westrop Medical Practice and Hermitage Surgery merging?
Dr Steve Rhodes is the sole partner at Hermitage Surgery. He is retiring on the 30th November 2017. As there are no other partners to take over the running of the practice, it needed to merge to avoid the alternative option of closing the practice.
2. What benefits are there to Westrop Medical Practice in merging with another practice?
In 2016 NHS England published a document called 'General Practice Forward View'. Within this document it talks about the increasing workload in General Practice and not enough GPs to do the work. The population is living longer but this has resulted in more people living with multiple chronic diseases and more complex health needs. The Forward View document talks about how NHS England are going to support practices to manage these increasing workloads. One of things it talks about is encouraging GP practices to 'Work at Scale'. This means practices either merging with other practices or working closely with other practices in federations. By working at scale practices can benefit from:
- Economies of scale such as sharing documents between practices rather each practice individually having to write the same documents. This frees up staff time to help support patients.
- Quality improvement. Working at scale provides opportunities to share knowledge and examples of good care
- Workforce development. It provides greater opportunities to train and support staff, as well as the opportunity to employ other workforces to support GPs such as nurse practitioners, physios, clinical pharmacists and paramedics.
- Enhanced care and new services. Traditionally many GP surgeries only had 1 or 2 doctors. It is difficult for individual doctors to be able to offer all of the services now required for primary care. Working at scales allows doctors and other clinical staff to be able to work together to offer additional services to patients such as minor surgery and inserting contraceptive coils.
- Resilience. If a GP practice only has 1 doctor, if that doctor is sick, there is no one to see the patients. When practices are part of a larger organisation, when someone goes off sick there are then other doctors, nurses and other clinical staff that can then help to cover until the sick doctor returns.
- System partnerships. By working at scale it allows practices to have a larger voice. This makes it easier for practices to be heard by CCGs and NHS England when trying to improve services for our patients. It also facilitates partnership working with other organisations like social services.
3. How will the proposed merger benefit patients?
The merger will allow patients at Hermitage Surgery to continue to receive primary care services at that surgery. If the surgery had closed they would have needed to register at an alternative surgery.
The merger will help make all 3 of our practices more sustainable for the future and will allow us to provide patient centred care to all our patients in Swindon, Highworth and Blunsdon for many years to come. In addition, it will offer more training opportunities and support for staff, thus enabling us to continue attracting staff of the highest calibre to deliver care to our patients.
4. Are there any plans to close any of the Practices?
No. We will continue to offer primary care services from all 3 sites at Highworth, Blunsdon and Hermitage Surgery
5. Will patients have to go to a different site for their appointments?
Primary care services will continue to run from all 3 of our practice sites. There are some enhanced services which are not currently offered at Hermitage Surgery such as contraceptive implant and coil insertions that we will offer from our main surgery in Highworth. However if patients are not able to travel to Highworth, they can continue to access those enhanced contraception services at the Swindon Health Centre as previously.
6. What will happen to the patients medical records?
Westrop Medical Practice and Hermitage Surgery already use the same clinical system, Systm One. Initially the 2 systems will be separate whilst we wait for System One to merge the systems. The computer systems will merge in March 2018. Please don't worry though as the administration staff and clinical staff will be able to see the records of the patients at both surgeries from the 30th November but they will have to log into the systems separately until the full system merger occurs in March.
7. Do patients have to stay with the merged practice?
No. If a patient does not wish to stay with the merged practice they are free to register with another GP practice, provided they live within their practice boundary. NHS choices provides information on other local practices.