Merger of Pewsey & Marlborough surgeries: Monday is launch day for the new Kennet & Avon Medical Partnership
Friday (March 31) is the Marlborough Medical Practice's last day - its merger with the Pewsey surgery takes effect on Saturday, but on Monday receptionists in both surgeries will be answering the phone as 'the Kennet & Avon Medical Partnership' - making appointments for both surgeries.
Marlborough partner Dr Jenny Campbell told Marlborough.News: "It's fabulous that the staff are so enthused by it all. We're no longer wondering 'Where do we go from here?' - now we're all looking positively to the future." They are still trying to recruit more doctors: "We think the new structure will more attractive for recruiting staff."
It has been a very complicated process and some pieces of the jigsaw - including full online services - will not be in place until the summer: "Please bear with us - there may be some teething problems - we've been working very hard to make sure the patients don't notice the changes."
Appointments for both surgeries now appear on the same multi-coloured computer screen in both surgeries - and patient records have been linked. But the full phone system and lines have been delayed till mid-April.
Doctors and nurses will be switching between the two sites but with one triage team. This will give the GPs much more resilience against absences for sickness or staff training.
There are still some organisational steps to be taken. As yet the new Partnership has no logo. This is in the hands of Pewsey Vale School's art department. They are running a competition among their students - with the judging due before Easter. So watch this space - and watch for the new signage.
The merger comes soon after the Marlborough Medical Practice received an overall 'Good' rating following the inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The Practice scored good in answer to all the CQC's five questions: are the services safe, effective, caring, responsive to people's needs and well-led?
Among their findings, the inspectors reported: "We saw a high level of staff satisfaction and very good staff retention rate. Staff told us they were proud of the practice as a place to work. The practice also had an active patient participation group who were very engaged in the practice and supporting improvements for patients."
One of the slight downsides of the Marlborough and Avon Medical Partnership being considered as an entirely new NHS entity is that, within a year, the CQC will probably come knocking on the two surgeries' doors again - for another inspection.
The CQC rating came on top of heartening results from the latest survey of patients by the Practice's Patient Participation Group. Forty-six per cent of those taking part in the survey said they were 'Very satisfied' with the Marlborough Medical Practice and another forty-three per cent were 'Satisfied' - of the rest three per cent said they were 'Unsatisfied' and so few people were 'Very unsatisfied' that they appear as zero per cent.
Besides Friday (March 31) being the last day of the Marlborough Medical Practice's existence, it will also be the last day for its long-serving partner, Dr Sally Hanson, who is retiring. But she will be returning from time to time as a locum - working in both surgeries.