The merger of three Telford & Wrekin GP practices to form the Shropshires first “super practice” has gone live.
The new practice, to be known as Teldoc, brings together three existing practices – Lawley Medical Practice in Lawley Bank, Oakengates Medical Practice and Trinity Healthcare, who have a number of surgeries throughout Telford.
Teldoc serves a combined total of around 40,000 registered patients and have 18 GP partners.
The creation of the new practice has been driven by the practices themselves with support from Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group.
Wayne Cooper, Practice Director said: “It is now a widely accepted model in the NHS that the creation of larger practices can really help to deal with the increasing demands that are being placed on general practices”
“Patients will see little difference from day one, but the larger practice offers up a range of exciting opportunities for the future. It will also offer more opportunities for career development for our existing staff and help us to recruit and retain staff with the skills we require. It will offer a supportive environment for young GPs and offer greater options for older GPs who may otherwise retire. That is good news for patients as it gives greater continuity of care, as you are far more likely to be seen and treated by someone who knows you, with lesser reliance on locum doctors.
“Our greater size will also give us scope to consider expanding on the wide range of staff we already employ in roles such as advanced nurse practitioners and urgent care practitioners, practice nurses and health care assistants and give us more of an ability to consider the introduction of clinicians such as physician associates and pharmacists. This is something that individual practices often cannot justify or afford based on their current size.
“Ultimately we will also be looking to introduce a range of services into the community that are normally associated with hospitals. This may include specialist respiratory services, diabetes services, dermatology, cardiology, ear nose and throat, and other services that can be delivered closer to patients in their own communities. In some cases we deliver these services now but we want to do more to support our patients and reduce the need to rely on hospital services.
“ In addition we will be working closely with other service providers to ensure that services such as Health Visiting, Community Nursing and Mental health services continue to work out of our surgeries and become part of a ‘virtual’ team. Current services to patients such as the Care navigators and Healthy Lifestyles team will continue and be expanded wherever possible.”
The practices that will form Teldoc have already communicated and engaged with their patients through their respective patient participation groups (PPGs).
Mr Cooper said: “Patients should not worry at all about the creation of the creation of the new practice. They will not need to re-register or attend appointments at a different surgery than they currently go to. They won’t even have to call a different telephone number to book appointments to begin with.
“Eventually we will introduce a single phone number later this year, but patients will be informed before any changes take place.
“ As a practice we are keen to look at using technology to give our patients greater access to health care services and advice and this may include in the future on line consultations and access to advice”
Dr Ian Chan Chair of the Teldoc Board said: “We believe the creation of Teldoc is an exciting development in local primary care.
“Working with the CCG and our partners in secondary and social care we want to develop and deliver on the concept of bringing together professionals with different skills to work more closely in delivering the care that our patients need in the communities where our patients live.
“We believe this is not only the best way to treat patients but will also allow us to put increasing emphasis on prevention, which is the best way that the NHS can begin to manage the demand for services now and in the future.”