Marlborough Medical Practice and Pewsey Surgery to merge - to meet shortage of GPs
In a joint statement leading GPs from Marlborough Medical Practice and Pewsey Surgery say that following "... resignations from several practices in Wiltshire and a subsequent inability to recruit replacements, partners from both practices have been discussing a merger as a next step to make sure they are able to continue to provide the best care and services for their patients, by working more efficiently and sharing workloads."
"The proposal is for both practices to remain open and for GP appointments to continue to be provided from both sites. The emerging plans have been discussed with and are supported by Wiltshire CCG and NHS England."
"Dr Anna Collings, Partner at Pewsey Surgery, said: "The workforce challenges within the NHS, and most particularly the shortage of GPs and other primary care staff, have been widely reported nationally and locally and are now beginning to affect our own north east corner of Wiltshire."
"It is really important for us to continue our patient relationships and to keep improving the quality and range of our services. But the challenges are real and we need to take action now to make sure we can respond to the developing healthcare landscape. Merging with Marlborough Medical Practice is a sensible and positive way forward”.
And Dr Jenny Campbell, Partner at Marlborough Medical Practice, said: “We’re confident that this proposal will make us far stronger and more resilient and will give us the opportunity to offer more enhanced services and to share specialisms and staff."
"Our two practices already work closely together, so formally merging is a logical next step. Our staff are supportive and both practices will keep our respective patients up to date with the ongoing discussions”.
The merger is expected to take effect in the Spring of 2017: “Sharing resources will give some 18,000 patients access to more flexible services.”
The GPs Partners expect that neither patients nor staff will notice any immediate change, both practices believe that collaboration will enable them to continue to provide quality care for their patients and will lead to better ways of working.
Both Marlborough and Pewsey primary care services have been open about the way they have been hit by the national shortage of GPs. The Pewsey Surgery website has a notice on its home page that reads:
"DOCTOR SHORTAGE - IMPORTANT NOTICE TO ALL PATIENTS One of our full-time GPs, Dr Griffiths, left the practice at the end of October. Despite advertising both locally and nationally we have been unable to find a new doctor to replace him. This is due to a national GP recruitment crisis."
"We recently applied to NHS England to close our list to new patients but this request has been turned down. So we must continue to accept new patients, despite the fact that we are now operating at just 70 per cent of our usual doctor capacity. We will try to employ locum doctors, but they are also in short supply and will not 'plug the gap."
"Under these circumstances we regret that you are likely to find it harder to obtain an appointment."
The Marlborough Medical Practice, which serves about 12,000 patients, carries a similar notice on its website - stating that since Dr Abi Griffiths left the practice on October 7
"The Practice has so far been unable to recruit a much-needed new GP to replace Dr Griffiths."
In fact they have been trying to recruit a new GP both nationally and locally for the past seven months - without success.
The Practice says: "It is unsustainable to work long term without additional clinical input, and so we are looking to recruit a new role at the practice, that of Advanced Nurse Practitioner."
This new role "...involves delivering care in all areas of General Practice nursing, including telephone triage, long term conditions management and delivering care in local nursing and residential homes. Applicants will need to be Independent Nurse Prescribers." They are seeking two Advanced Nurse Practitioners and full details of the posts are now on their website.
Patients will also be able to write to the practice about the merger. Emails and letters will not get individual replies, but will be collated to produce a joint response or a document of replies to Frequently Asked Questions.