Telford & Wrekin’s first “super-practice” is seeking the views of patients about ambitious plans to improve services.
They would mean Teldoc being able to provide at least 60 extra clinical appointments a day for patients, improved 365-days-a-year access to services, investment in a new “Care Navigation Centre” and improved IT infrastructure.
The practice currently operates from nine sites. The three smallest and least used would close as part of the plans.
Teldoc currently has slightly over 45,000 registered patients. This is expected to increase as more development takes place in its catchment area.
Partner, Dr Ian Chan, said: “We are planning for the future and we now want to share with our patients some of the exciting plans we have.
“As part of these plans we want to employ more clinical staff with a range of skills that would allow us to offer at least 60 more acute appointments per day, and we would also gain clinical space to enable us to better handle these appointments.
“We plan to open a new purpose-developed Care Navigation Centre that would receive all our calls from patients and act as an admin hub. This is urgently needed to handle the increasing number of calls we are receiving and to provide a quicker service – our current call centre is unfit for purpose and cannot handle calls for all our sites.”
Teldoc is already offering appointments 7-days-per week through the GP Extended Access scheme. It also offers access to some services for patients registered with other Telford & Wrekin practices.
Dr Chan said: “We have seen a huge uptake of these type of appointments and they are popular with all patient age groups. We want to be able to improve this service further.”
As part of the proposals Teldoc want to close the three smallest practices which offer the lowest number of patient appointments. These are the Lightmoor, Highfield and Aqueduct sites.
Dr Chan said: “Between them these sites only have six rooms in which patients can be seen, and our proposals would see an extra eight rooms provided at our other sites, giving us more clinical spaces overall, and improved access for patients.
“Lightmoor and Highfield are also only open for limited periods, have very little car parking and only offer limited services due to their very small size. They are not fit for modern needs and require constant maintenance which is an investment we would rather spend on patient services.
“Aqueduct is open for five days per week, but with limited access for patients. It also houses our current call centre but is inadequate for this role, cannot handle the volume of calls we get, and offers a poor standard of accommodation for our staff.”
Dr Chan added: “We have looked carefully at the implications for patients who need to access services. In each case the site that would close is near to sites we would improve and they are served by the same public transport routes.”
Teldoc is running a six-week patient engagement to seek their views. A survey is available online, is being posted to patients’ homes and will be available in all practices. It lasts until Friday August 16.
Overall the plans will be cost neutral.