Firstly, we are extremely grateful for your support and co-operation during the last few months in these unprecedented times.
We have all had to adapt to many changes in our lives during the Covid-19 pandemic and your kind words and thanks have been gratefully received by all of the staff.
THE TWO PRACTICES ARE MERGING ON THE 6TH JULY THIS YEAR. YOU ALL MAY RECALL WE HAD AN EXTENSIVE CONSULTATION PROCESS REGARDING THIS SOME TWO YEARS AGO.
I have included below some questions you may have regarding our merger and hopefully providing satisfactory answers for them.
We have consulted both Patient Participation Groups regarding these changes and they have inputted into the process.
Both Practices are driven by patient care and values which are important to the Partners.
Our values are:
- Trust, integrity, honesty and professionalism
- High quality, patient-centred care
- Patients: encouraging and promoting self-care and responsibility
- Staff: appreciating and valuing everyone’s contribution
Why are we doing this?
General Practice faces a number of challenges including GP recruitment difficulties and an increasing demand for services. We feel that by building on the close relationship we already have we will be able to better meet these challenges and continue to provide high-quality care for our patients.
By merging we are confident we can ensure equality of care to both patient groups and use opportunities that may arise in the near future to expand our services.
Our merger will also ensure that our service does not suffer because of individual retirement plans at a time when GPs are extremely hard to recruit. We also feel that we will be able to offer more desirable career opportunities which will not only attract GPs but also retain them. This is also applicable to other health care professionals and practice support staff.
The Dudley Integrated Health and Care NHS Trust (the new Model of Care in Dudley) plans to give patients an opportunity to access services which are currently provided in hospital in the community and nearer their home.
Will there be any changes to the surgery opening times?
NO – you will still be able to access us Monday – Friday, 8am – 6.30pm. We shall also continue to offer the same number of hours for extended access outside of these times though we may need to review when this is offered to ensure that we continue to meet the needs of all of our patients.
Will there be any changes to the Primary care service provided to patients?
There is NO plan to move or change current services/clinics offered in either Kingswinford or Kinver. We will continue to provide all of the services we do now but our goal is to enhance the services we provide. We are committed to working with patients and our staff to identify any areas where we could possibly provide additional services that would be of benefit to our patients. As a larger organisation we also envisage a stronger opportunity to apply for funding and contracts enabling us to offer a wider range of services. The skill mix within the team across the sites will expand – and clinicians will be able to refer and ask for advice internally – improving the continuity and quality of care for the patient.
As previously stated, we hope that Dudley patients will, in the next few years, have the opportunity to benefit from services moving from hospital into the community together with consultant clinics being held in the community as part of the new Model of Care being currently discussed.
Will I need to re-register to remain on the practice list?
NO – You do not need to do anything. Any transfer of patient data to a single clinical system will be done automatically and your “paper” health record will remain at the surgery’s premises.
Will I still be able to see my usual doctor or nurse?
YES – All of our doctors and nurses will continue in their current roles. We hope that by increasing our skill mix we will be able to free up time for your usual doctor or nurse who might currently be doing tasks that can be shared more effectively.
Will I be able to access appointments at either surgery?
In the initial period we will encourage Kinver patients to be seen in Kinver and Kingswinford patients to be seen in Kingswinford.
However, if access and choice demand YES you will be able to be seen at either surgery.
Will there on a single phone system?
YES – this will be located in one surgery and with increased staffing we will manage all calls more effectively and in a timely manner.
We weekly review our call handling and our new system enables us to adjust staffing to meet demand.
Will the phone numbers change?
Will this affect any treatment or medication I am currently receiving either at the GP practice or at hospital?
NO – none of this will be affected.
Will the process of requesting home visits change?
NO – home visits are often required for housebound patients and those who, unfortunately, are entering the last stages of their lives. We will continue to offer these services to those patients.
All home visits are reviewed before visiting to check they are appropriate for doctors to visit.
The visit will be by a member of our team, a clinician, our emergency practitioner or by one of our specialist nursing team
Will I be able to order my prescription in the surgery and on- line?
YES – we encourage all patients to register for On-line Access and nominate a pharmacy of their choice that their prescriptions are sent to electronically.
This is more important than ever as we enter a period when we have to monitor the number of patients in the surgery and maintain social distancing.
If you have not registered for Patient Access please do so.
Will Kinver patients need to register for this service?
Unfortunately, YES from the 6th July 2020.
That week we will register all patients currently using the system from Kinver and issue new user numbers and password.
We will send these out, with requested prescriptions, to all these patients.
We apologise for this inconvenience but this is needed as a result of our merger.
The importance of re-registering and using Patient Access is I hope clear from the explanations above.
Will I be expected to travel to Kingswinford or Kinver for my specialist (e.g. diabetic review) appointment?
NO – we will continue to offer those appointments in both Practices but you can choose to attend either Practice if this is more convenient.
Will clinics continue as before with the nurses?
YES – we will endeavour to offer all services at both sites. However, there may some occasions such as holidays or sickness when there is a need to centralise clinics but our hope is that these occasions will be limited in number.
Will my access to community services (e.g. district nurses) change?
NO – all services in the community will remain as they are now.
Will there be any changes to how I access the GP Out of Hours Services?
NO – you will still have access to the GP Out of Hours Service as you do now.
Will I still have a choice on which hospital I can attend to see a specialist?
YES – this will not change.
Will the Patients Participation Groups merge?
NO – it is important that your voices in both communities are heard and that you provide feedback on changes which will be collated and discussed in both surgeries.
Will the website change?
From July 6th
YES, our website will change to reflect the need for all of us to use more on- line services. Yes, as part of the merger our websites will be combined and relaunched shortly after the merger. As part of the new website we are looking to make it easier for you to contact us remotely You will be able deal with many requests which you may normally have to contact reception, for example ordering sick notes, requesting nurse or doctor appointments as well as new features such as asking the doctor a question.
Are all requests for advice still dealt with over the telephone?
Most of these requests will need to be done via the website from the 6th July. We hope this way you will be able to access us more quickly and not have to wait on the telephone for our team to answer your calls.
YES – we will continue to triage all requests for advice and see those we feel need closer urgent attention.
We are extremely grateful for your support and co-operation and I hope you feel as we do that we have, despite trying circumstances, continued to provide the best care we can to all our patients.