Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Questions and answers about the future of St Mary’s Island Surgery, Green Suite at Balmoral Gardens Healthy Living Centre, Twydall Clinic, the Pentagon Centre and the Sunlight Centre Surgery.

Due to Covid-19, most appointments are being carried out by telephone or video call. However, face-to-face appointments are available for those who need them at St Mary’s Island Surgery, Green Suite at Balmoral Gardens Healthy Living Centre and the Sunlight Centre Surgery. Whichever surgery you usually visit, you can book an appointment at any of the sites that are open by visiting or calling 01634 890712.

Medway Practices Alliance (MPA), the provider that is currently running the surgeries, plans to open Twydall and the Pentagon Centre when it is safe to do so. They hope to open by the end of November 2020.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated MPA as ‘good’. However, there are issues at the surgeries that will take time to sort out. The CCG currently has a weekly meeting with MPA staff to monitor progress and support them to make improvements. This will continue until the situation settles, when meetings will take place once a month.

There is a process to go through when choosing new providers which is why we are writing to patients and asking for your opinions. It may be that MPA decides they want to run the surgeries in the long-term but they will be assessed alongside any other provider who wants to do the same.  

You will still be able to see a GP and other healthcare professionals such as nurses or healthcare assistants. We do not know if you will need to visit a different surgery until we have a better understanding of how people's needs have changed during the pandemic. There is a chance you may have to visit a different surgery but at the moment, no decisions have been made.

There is a possibility that you will see a different GP in the future. Across the country, services offered by GP practices are changing. In the past, patients would see a GP for everything but now there are different people working in a surgery that can help patients in different ways. For example, an Advanced Nurse Practitioner is a Registered Nurse who has done extra training and they will often be better suited to looking after patients with long term conditions or chronic pain.

We don’t know exactly what will happen yet. Early next year, we will write to patients again setting out the possible options.

In 2019, the five surgeries began to work together. You may hear St Mary’s Island referred to as the ‘main surgery’ and the others as ‘branches’. This means that wherever you originally registered, you can currently visit any one of the five sites, but officially you are registered at St Mary’s Island Surgery.

Surgeries do not always store their paper records on site, especially when space is limited. Some practices choose to store them at secure external data storage facilities for security. Your practice will have access to your records and your medical history electronically to ensure safe prescribing and for diagnosis and treatment.

Across the country, GP surgeries are now working together more closely in primary care networks to provide more services for longer hours. Practices no longer operate on their own. 

You don’t need to change your GP practice but you can if you wish to. Visit ‘How to register with a GP practice’, or ask the GP practice you wish to register with.

If you have any issues with the surgery, you can contact them via their website or phone number. Alternatively, you can contact NHS England, which deals with complaints about GP surgeries, on the details below.

By post to: NHS England, PO Box 16738, Redditch, B97 9PT

By email If you are making a complaint, please state: ‘For the attention of the complaints team’ in the subject line.

By telephone: 0300 311 22 33

Opening hours are: 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, except Wednesdays when they open at the later time of 9.30am. They are closed on bank holidays.

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