PROPOSED MERGER WITH PITSMOOR SURGERY
The Flowers Health Centre and Pitsmoor Surgery Merger
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Patients and GPs have benefited from traditional small scale general practice over the last 50 years. But that model is under huge pressure and momentum from the General Practice Forward View is building to provide general practice on a bigger scale.
Pitsmoor Surgery is larger than the average practice which has enabled us to build a skilled and varied workforce. Despite our success, we still find the recruitment of new doctors and nurses difficult and, in a competitive market, candidates are looking for strong, successful and large practices to work in.
A bigger practice means a bigger workforce, employing a wider range of professionals including consultants and therapists and offering an extended range of care.
NHS England wants to see general practice offered by larger units, Multispecialty Community Providers (MCP), as outlined in its Five Year Forward View published in 2014. It argues that without a radical overhaul the NHS will not cope with increased demand.
The Five Year Forward View says MCPs are to be made up of groups of general practices covering a minimum registered list size of 30,000. In the future NHS England hopes to deliver the majority of outpatient consultations from these so that services are delivered closer to the patient’s home.
We believe that working at a bigger scale brings significant benefits so Pitsmoor Surgery and The Flowers Health Centre have been active members of Foundry Medical Group (FMG) since 2015. FMG is a federation of 6 local training practices working together to improve patient care and create a stronger workforce.
The biggest issue facing us over the next 5 years is to have enough skilled staff to meet patient demand. As a whole, the NHS struggles to do this so we need to grow our own workforce. Between the 2 practices we already train doctors, nurses, physician associates, medical students, health care assistants and admin apprentices.
As a direct result of this philosophy, half the clinical staff at Pitsmoor Surgery were once trained here. A larger organisation will enable us to increase our training capacity and continue to build the workforce of the future.
What will a merger mean for patients?
The 2 practices will continue to operate in the same way as they do now. Patients will see the same clinical staff in the same location, continuity of care will not change. You will not be asked to travel to the other location.
You may see new services appearing. On our own we cannot attract services on a small scale but a bigger organisation can. The first example of this will be the introduction of physiotherapy assessment sessions in each practice that are available without referral through the current system. A physio will be available to assess aches & pains that a GP normally sends through to the hospital service.
Each practice has its own team of skilled staff with expertise in certain areas and the staff may travel to the other practice to offer these services for the benefit of the patients at the other practice.
What will a merger mean for the practices?
The 2 practices will remain open, there are absolutely no plans to close either.
All the staff will keep their jobs but will be employed by the new partnership.
At the moment, each practice undertakes a significant amount of administrative work for the NHS, completing returns, monitoring data and managing healthcare records. A larger organisation will reduce duplicated effort and provide the efficiency benefits of economy at scale.
Resources within the NHS are very limited and the occasional additional funding often goes to the larger, more developed practices. The size of the merged practice will also potentially allow us to tender for different services.
Why Pitsmoor & Flowers?
The partners at each practice have known each other for many years. They share the same passion and philosophy for patient centred care and are adamant that this should not change.
We firmly believe that this proposed merger will make a stronger and more sustainable practice for the patients in our community.
Patient comments so far
“The Flowers Health Centre is too far away”
The merger is about the operational efficiency of the business rather than changes to the clinical service we both deliver. We will not ask you to go to the other practice although in the long term, it may become an option if you prefer or choose to do so.
“There will be too many patients, shared between fewer staff”
The ratio of clinical staff to patients will not change, in fact as a result of the merger we hope to actually increase the number we have between us.
“I don’t like change”
Change is unsettling for everyone but there is a genuine need to change if we are to remain sustainable, competitive and appealing to new clinical staff.
“Is this proposal to facilitate the new urgent care needs?”
Both practices offer routine and urgent same day appointments, this will not change.
The “out of hours” urgent care service in Sheffield is currently being reviewed and may change where you go when we are closed. However, this merger is about the services we deliver “in hours” and therefore will not change how you access the practices.
“The practice is already busy and the service is overstretched”
We know that services are stretched and continually strive to improve the way we work. It is our intention that long term financial savings will be invested in more clinical staff.
Our proposal is based on a genuine desire to create a sustainable and local GP service for all our patients.
We need your support.