More than 27,000 Medway patients are being asked for their views on the future of the five GP surgeries they are registered with.
Medway Practices Alliance Ltd (MPA), the GP federation that brings together practices and GPs from across Medway to provide quality healthcare, is currently managing the five sites until September 2021. The practices are: St Mary’s Island Surgery and the Pentagon Centre, Chatham; Green Suite at Balmoral Gardens Healthy Living Centre and the Sunlight Centre Surgery, Gillingham; and Twydall Clinic, Twydall.
NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is responsible for planning and buying healthcare services, is now engaging with patients and other local stakeholders to help plan the future of the surgeries. The move comes after the Care Quality Commission (CQC) took urgent enforcement action in July 2020 which meant the previous provider – DMC Healthcare – could no longer see patients at the five GP sites.
Bill Millar, Director of Primary Care at NHS Kent and Medway CCG, said: “Obviously our priority was patient safety and continuity of primary care services so we awarded a 12 month contract to MPA. This has allowed us the time to plan and talk to local people to find out what they really want from their local surgery. It is important that we now focus on the future and ensure we have viable options for the surgeries after the current contract comes to an end.
“We would like to apologise to patients for what has been an unsettling period, particularly during the pandemic, but also reassure them that they do not need to do anything. Due to Covid-19, many consultations are taking place by phone or video call and patients can still contact their surgery in the usual way. MPA is also conducting face-to-face appointments at St Mary’s Island Surgery, Green Suite at Balmoral Gardens Healthy Living Centre and the Sunlight Centre Surgery. As soon as it is safe to do so, Twydall and the Pentagon will also open and we hope this will be by the end of November.”
The CCG is writing to every patient registered at the five GP sites, asking them or their carer to complete a survey so they can find out more about how patients currently use the sites and what is important to them. As well as the survey, the CCG is conducting some small focus groups via video calls and asking for views from GP patient participation groups.
Two public meetings are being held, which due to the current government restrictions must be virtual events, on Tuesday 1 December from 3-5pm and Wednesday 2 December from 6-8pm.
Bill Millar continued: “This is just the first stage of our engagement activity. We will write to patients again in early 2021 to present some options for the five sites that they will be able to comment on further. There will also be further public events, although we will not know exactly what form these will take until nearer the time when we can assess the current social distancing rules.”
The deadline to complete the survey is Thursday 10 December. If you cannot complete it online, you can call 07767 004213 to request a hard copy or to conduct the survey over the phone.
For further information on the five GP sites, including links to the patient survey and public events, visit www.kentandmedwayccg.nhs.uk/5GPsites.