Monkseaton Medical Centre and Bridge Medical are applying for a full merger of the two named GP practices. Drs Coundon, Salam, and Hartley are the contract holders of both practices. The GP partners are the same at both sites and currently hold 2 separate contracts, however managerial, clinical, and administrative teams work across both sites already.
We propose to continue providing services from both sites at Cauldwell Avenue and Shiremoor Resource Centre, with no change to appointment provision at either site. The merger is to join both contracts into one so we will have one name and one clinical system. Access for patients, use of community service providers and local NHS services will remain unchanged. The existing practice boundaries will merge to ensure all areas are covered by the new merged practice.
It is anticipated that the proposed merger will bring about positive change and benefits for our patients which will include but not be limited to:
- Improved access with the choice of appointments at either site
- Economies of scale with shared resources
- Centralisation front and back-office functions to create efficiencies.
- The opportunity to share best practice and build a stronger team.
- Reduced costs from improved efficiencies, allowing for reinvestment to develop and expand the services we provide.
- Strength as a larger scale provider to influence the outcomes for our practices and patients.
- Future sustainability to allow us to continue to deliver high quality and safe primary healthcare.
A merger can be an unsettling time, so we would like to capture any queries or feedback you have on the proposal. We have created a list of Frequently Asked Questions which hopefully have pre-empted some of your concerns. If you would like to provide any comments or feedback, you can do so by several different ways:-
- Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
- You can complete this form and return it one of the practice reception boxes
We would appreciate it if you could provide your feedback by 15th January 2023 to allow time for us to consider them before deciding.
All comments and views will be shared with our team, so that we can decide about how to proceed with a merger. Once a final decision has been made, you will receive a further update on the proposed plan. These comments and feedback will be shared with NHS England, Northeast & North Cumbria Integrated Care Board and the Local Medical Council who govern and assure the services we deliver.
You can also contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) by telephoning 0800 0320202 or email email@example.com
Once the consultation period has ended the partners will take into consideration the views and comments from patients and stakeholders before making a final decision. If we decide to go ahead with a merge, Monkseaton Medical Centre and Bridge Medical will apply to the NHS Northeast and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board to merge the Practices. A decision will be made in the Spring of 2024. All the Partners and Staff are confident that this the merger is a positive step to improving patient care and ensure the practice is sustainable.
We would value your comments, please send us an email to our dedicated merger email address firstname.lastname@example.org
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Will there still be the same number of appointments available at my usual practice?
A. We aim to keep the same number of appointments as previously. Merging the practices will enable us to look at increasing provision and will give us the opportunity to look at how efficiencies are created. We would hope that this will offer our patients a greater choice of appointments.
Q. Will I still be able to get an appointment at my usual practice?
A. Patients will see no change and appointments will be available at Cauldwell Ave site and Shiremoor Resource Centre as usual. You could be offered an appointment at either site if this was more convenient or suitable for you. This may be helpful if an acute urgent problem. We still would always encourage continuity with the same clinician if it were an ongoing problem.
Q. Will I still contact my practice on the usual telephone number to make an appointment?
A. The existing practice telephone numbers will remain the same. You will contact your practice as you have always done.
Q. If I do not have my own transport how will I get to and from my usual surgery?
A. If patients do not have transport, we will prioritise appointments at their usual practice. Both practices are very close to local metro stations – Monkseaton and Shiremoor and are on local bus routes also (bustimes.org website). The distance between the two practices is 2 miles which is about6 minutes travel time by car.
Q. If I use my own transport will there be sufficient parking available?
A. Monkseaton Medical Centre and Bridge Medical Surgeries both have ample parking available on site for both patients and staff.
Continuity of Care
Q. Can I still speak to my regular GP or team member such as pharmacist, paramedic, or physician’s associate?
A. Patients will still speak to their usual clinicians and see no change in practice. Our values are that patients should have clinical continuity with an ongoing problem as much as possible, and the same clinician still remain a priority.
Q. Will I still be recalled for my Chronic Disease reviews at the practice?
A. Chronic Disease management will not be affected by the proposed merger, and you will continue to be recalled and see your usual practice nurse and results of any tests or recall processed by the clinical team as currently happens.
Q. What additional benefit will I see?
A. Some of the doctors and nurses already work at both sites and as a result of the proposed merger they will be available on additional days of the week to enhance the continuity of care for our patients. Being a larger practice will help us be more resilient to changes in staffing and demands on Primary care services.
Q. Will the reception and clinical staff be affected by the proposed merger?
A. All staff will remain the same and continue to provide business as usual at their current site.
Q. Will the practice opening hours remain the same?
A. Practice opening hours will continue as normal unless central government or NHS dictate otherwise.
Q. Will I see any change to the services currently provided at the practice?
A. Monkseaton Medical Centre and Bridge Medical already provide identical in-house services, it may be there is only one service on a certain day e.g., there is only smear appointments at Bridge site on Monday, Thursday – we can try to arrange the appropriate appointment with the appropriate person at a site to suit you if transport is difficult.
Q. Will the proposed merger affect the care of patients who are housebound?
A. Community nurses and other healthcare practitioners will continue to work closely with both practices as normal and be provided by the same teams.
Q. Will there be any change to the service we receive from community midwives or health visitors?
A. Midwives and health visitors will continue to work with both practices as usual to provide care to our expectant mothers and young children.
Q. Will I still be able to use my usual pharmacy for my prescriptions?
A. Prescriptions will continue to be managed in the same way and you will still be able to use your preferred pharmacy or dispensary service. We continue to encourage all patients to use online services to help with requesting of repeat prescriptions.
Q. What will the new name be of the newly merged practice?
A. The staff will be discussing this and keep you informed when we decide.
Q. Will you have a new combined website for information?
A. Yes, we plan to hold one website where updated information and all of our services can be found regarding the merged practices. We will inform you of this when it is set up after application for merger has been successful.