Background to the Proposal
Our practices already work closely together in partnership to deliver joint services and we see this as a natural way forward for our partnership.
We believe that a merger is in the best interests of all our patients and that together we will be in a stronger position to care for our patients and meet the needs of the communities we serve.
A merger helps us provide a sustainable service for patients into the future. The pooling of administrative and statutory functions will help us concentrate on the care of our patients and not paperwork.
Please see below some frequently asked questions regarding our proposed merger.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why merge the practices?
The NHS is changing and NHS England is asking practices to work together across larger patient populations. We want to ensure that our patients continue to receive high quality medical care.
A merger will offer many benefits. The current practices use the same clinical computer system, and in merging, we will be able to access patient electronic records through a single system and log in, which will make it easier for our GPs and nurses to view patient information across both our sites, wherever you may need to be seen, for example in our extended hours services. We will also able to bring together our management and support teams for more efficiency.
Bringing together our practices in this way will mean we can share our pool of knowledge and skills. Particularly as we know people often have many diseases and needs. This means that we will be able to provide more seamless, joined up patient care. We want to remove the barriers to accessing services and address current challenges.
There is a national shortage of GPs and practice nurses, a merged practice will be better able to get the doctors and nurses we need. The workload of a current GP Practice has grown in recent years. We want to make sure that clinical time is spent in patient care not in paperwork.
- What will this mean to me?
Patients will not see any real change and you will be able to access services at your local practice as you do now. Over time we may be able to offer more specialist clinics and services as we will have access to a wider healthcare team.
- What will the new Practice be called?
Both Surgeries will retain their names. We would like to invite suggestions from our patients and staff for the name of our new organisation.
- Will I be able to see my usual Doctor or Nurse?
Continuity of care is valued by both patients and doctors and nurses. Our healthcare teams will be based at their usual locations. The merger will not alter the way we deliver routine care at Widdrington Surgery.
- I have a long term health problem – how will this affect my care?
Every effort will be made to ensure that you continue to see your preferred clinicians for ongoing care. If you usually attend a clinic at a certain practice for diabetes, asthma for example, then this will continue as normal.
- Will there be any change to the service we receive from community services such as district nurses, midwives or health visitors?
The community teams will continue to work with both practices as usual to provide care to patients.
- Will I be able to access new services at either surgery?
We will continue to deliver your core GP services through your current practice. We are committed to developing our services and our healthcare team, and in future may be able to offer more specialist services to patients across both Surgeries.
- Will the new merged Practice have access to my medical records?
Yes, the two clinical records are being combined into one. If you go to another site, such as for a specialist clinic, your medical record will be available to the clinician seeing you there.
- Will your Opening Hours Change?
Core opening hours at our sites will remain the same. Telephone lines are open for all patients from 8.30am until 6.00pm Monday to Friday. We are not planning to reduce our services or close any Surgery as a result of this merger. Like all other practices, we may vary some opening hours because of patient demand and clinical resources.
- Booking appointments – will I see any changes?
You will still be able to book an appointment by ringing your normal practice number or online via the NHS app or at www.widdringtonsurgery.nhs.uk
We now have care navigators who will help guide you to the most appropriate appointment for your needs, which is another benefit for all our patients and this merger.
We are keeping our appointment system under review due to Covid-19. We continue to follow the national rules in having a telephone or online-first appointment system and the facility to see patients face to face should you need this.
- My Medical Records – how will these be affected?
Our computer clinical system will merge the electronic records of all our patients. Whichever doctor or healthcare professional manages your care, they will be able to access your records no matter which practice you were members of.
- Prescriptions – how will these be affected?
With a shared computer system there should be no change to the current way in which you order or receive your prescriptions. If you order your prescriptions online then we may need to update your details. Further information will be given and we will contact you if this is the case.
- Will there be one Patient Participation Group?
We plan to keep the existing two patient participation groups (PPG).
A Patient Participation Group (PPG) is a group of patients, carers and GP practice staff who meet to discuss practice issues and patient experience to help develop and improve services. PPGs play a key role in helping patients get the best out of their GP surgery.
If you would like to find out more about the patient participation group or to get involved, please contact us at Widdrington.Surgery@nhs.net
Keeping you Informed
We will post regular updates on our website, provide information posters in our surgeries and consult our patient participation groups.
We value your views and if you have any questions or comments, we’d like to hear from you:
Please make comments and suggestions
By Email: at Widdrington.Surgery@nhs.net
In Practice: Please ask our reception team for a feedback form. This can be filled out anonymously if you wish. You do not need to give us any personal information if you choose not to.
By Letter: Please write to us at your local practice address, and mark it “Merger Feedback for the attention of Practice Manager”.
By Phone: You can contact us via your local practice number as normal.
Thank you for your ongoing support.