Proposed Merger of the Kirton Lindsey Surgery and the Hawthorn Surgery, Scotter
Some of our patients will already be aware that we have been in discussions with the Hawthorn surgery in the nearby village of Scotter, for some time now regarding the possibility to merge both Practices. Both Practice Patient Participation Groups have been kept informed of these discussions.
The doctors at both Surgeries have been working together to help each other for quite some time. Following the recent retirement of Dr Turner from the Kirton Lindsey Surgery and Dr Bell from Hawthorn Surgery, we have been discussing how we can work more closely together and help each other further and try to improve the services that we are able to provide. The provision of Primary Care services is particularly challenging in the current economic climate, given the rural nature of both Practice areas and the on-going national shortage of new GPs, which has been particularly difficult in our local area.
The Doctors and management of both Practices believe that the best option for the future provision of GP services locally and for patients would be to combine resources and formerly merge Practices.
We have therefore submitted an application to NHS England to formerly merge the two Practices. The process for this is lengthy and will involve discussions with both the North Lincolnshire and Lincolnshire West Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs); other providers of both community health and social care; local authorities and most importantly, the patients of both Practices. A decision regarding this is not expected until midway through next year at the earliest.
As an interim solution and to allow both Practices to continue to provide and sustain current services, given the retirement of doctors from both Practices, the remaining GP Partners from both Practices have combined their Partnerships from 1st October 2016. The ownership of both Practice premises and the holders of General Medical Service contracts with NHS England with the responsibility to provide GP services to both Practice areas has been changed to reflect the new Partnership of Dr’s Padley, Jolly and Shekhawat. All the Partners are committed to the future provision of GP services from both Practice premises.
However a full Practice merger will be subject to final approval by NHS England and both North Lincolnshire and Lincolnshire west CCGs.
We hope that by combining our 2 relatively small practices, we can continue to provide personalised care to meet the particular needs of our local communities, maximising the benefits that can be provided by a larger organisation. This would help to sustain the future viability of both Practices within the changing NHS landscape.
The proposed new Practice would be known as ‘The Kirton Lindsey and Scotter Surgery’, and would continue to provide a full General Practice service from both the existing Surgery sites. All current clinical and reception staff would also continue to be based at their existing sites, but would be able to work across both sites to cover for holiday and sickness absence. Managerial and administrative functions would be combined to provide efficiency savings and help cope with increasing workloads. There are no plans for any cuts to existing staffing, indeed we hoping to be able to employ additional clinical staff to better meet the needs of the combined patient population.
Next steps – Tell us your views
We will shortly begin the process of a formal consultation with our patients in order to gain patient views. All households will receive a letter with a question and answer sheet and a comment form for your completion. We will be holding open public meetings at the Kirton Lindsey Diamond Jubilee Town Hall where representatives from both Practices and both CCGs will be available to answer any questions. Hawthorn Surgery will be undertaking a similar consultation to run concurrently. The dates and times for these will be included in the patient letters and advertised in each Surgery and via their websites.
It is important that you take the time to feedback to us, as your views and thoughts are very important and will be taken into account in any recommendations and help inform NHS England in their decision making. Both Practice Patient Participation Groups will be involved at each stage of the merger process and we will post updates on surgery websites as and when they become available.