Exciting News

We are absolutely delighted to announce that our plans to merge with each of the practices noted below to become ‘Tower Family Healthcare’ on 1 st July 2018 have now been formally approved by Bury’s Clinical Commissioning Group and their Primary Care Commissioning Committee.

–       Greenmount Medical Centre
–       Minden Family Practices in Derby Way, Bury – Yacht, Waves and Anchor
–       Spring Lane Surgery, Radcliffe
–       Tottington Medical Practice

Our business case to merge was presented to the Primary Care Commissioning Committee yesterday (25 th April) where we once again reiterated that each of our practices very much values the one to one relationships our patients have with our doctors and nurses and that coming together as Tower Family Healthcare will further increase our ability for these important relationships to continue.

As we have previously said, we also expect to be able to reduce the need for locum doctors and provide you with a greater number of highly skilled local doctors and nurses in the event that your usual doctor or nurse is absent from work.  This is great news for all of our patients.

Becoming Tower Family Healthcare will also enable us to develop and provide our patients with greater access to a wider spectrum of specialist services like palliative care; diabetes; care of the elderly and urgent care access.

As six practices coming together as one, we are extremely excited about what our future holds for all of our patients and we will continue to engage with you as we develop our plans in the run up to and beyond our merge date of 1 st July 2018.

If you would like any further information, this is provided for you below.  Please also note that any appointments you have booked will not be affected by this announcement.

Tower Family Healthcare – Patient Questions & Answers

The following questions and answers have been prepared to assist all patients of the 6 GP Practices who will merge to become Tower Family Healthcare on 1 st July 2018.

Q1. Will I still be able to make an appointment to see my usual doctor or nurse?

Yes. We very much value all of the one to one relationships our patients have with our doctors and nurses. It is therefore expected that our merged practice will further increase our ability to provide you with continuity of care and access to your usual doctor and/or nurse.

We also expect to be able to reduce the need for locum doctors and provide you with a greater number of highly skilled local doctors and nurses in the event that your usual doctor or nurse is absent from work.

Q2. Will I still be able to make appointments at my usual doctor’s surgery?

Yes. We will continue to provide daily appointments to see doctors, nurses and healthcare support workers.  During our first few months running as Tower Family Healthcare, we would ask that you continue to ring your current surgery to make your appointments and for any other matters you wish to discuss e.g. test results.

As each of our current IT systems merge together and ‘bed in’ we anticipate that you will be able to ring a single telephone number for all of our 6 practices.  We will keep you fully informed in relation to this via notices at each of our practice sites and on prescriptions.

Q3. Will my usual surgery opening times stay the same?

Yes. We are not currently anticipating any changes to our core opening times. We also expect to be able to improve and extend our opening times for all of our patients across Bury.

Q4. Will there be changes made to the way I book appointments?

No. We are not currently anticipating any changes to the way you book appointments and you will therefore continue to be able to book these in the same way as you do now with your current practice i.e. via the telephone, at your surgery or via the internet.

As noted above, we expect to be able to move to a single telephone number for all of our sites. However, in the short-term, please continue to ring your usual surgery to make an appointment and to discuss any other queries you may have. 
As now, we will also continue to contact all of our patients who require scheduled
vaccinations, chronic disease reviews or routine screening e.g. cervical screening tests, etc..

Q5. Will I be able to make an appointment to see a doctor and/or nurse at another GP practice site?

As our plans fully develop over the next few months, we expect that you will be able to request appointments with any doctor and/or nurse from any of our 6 practice sites, therefore providing you with greater access to a wider range of services and availability.

Q6. Will I have to go to another GP Practice site for consultations and/or treatments?

No. However, if in the future we feel that one of the other sites provides a better or more appropriate service for specific patients – for example a particular doctor at one site may specialise in COPD or diabetes – you may be asked if you would like to attend there in order to access more specialised care if this is appropriate and you choose this option.

Q7. Will any service that is currently offered by my usual surgery be removed or stopped?

No. We do not anticipate services being removed or stopped. If anything, we anticipate that our merger will bring about a greater choice of services. 
In the event that the contracts against which we deliver are changed by the Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership, we would be unable to influence these changes.

Q8. How will you make sure there is no reduction in the quality of services that are provided?

The quality of our services will continue to remain our number 1 priority and will continue to be monitored on a site-by- site basis in the same way as they are now. We will continue to benchmark all of our services against both national and local targets including the Quality in Primary Care Standards. We will also continue to work with Bury’s Clinical Commissioning Group to ensure that we are flexible in our response to meet our patient’s needs within local neighbourhoods.

Q9. Will there be any changes to how I access the GP out of hours service?

No. In order to access a GP when the new practice is closed, you will still continue to telephone the NHS 111 service and they will either signpost you to the most appropriate service or arrange for you to access a GP.

Q10.  Will the current arrangements that I have in place for getting my medicines stay the same?

Yes.

Q11.  Will the merge affect any treatment or medication I am currently receiving either at my usual surgery or any hospital?

No. Any current treatments, medications or investigations will not be affected by our merge.

Q12.  Will I need to re-register to become a patient of Tower Family Healthcare? What will happen to my health records?

No, you will not need to re-register and we also anticipate that you will remain registered with the same GP as you are now. 
All of our patients will automatically be merged into Tower Family Healthcare and your health records will reside within a single patient database. The NHS safeguards in relation to patient confidentiality of information will continue to remain in place throughout the transition.

Q13.  Will the single GP Practice be able to provide new services to patients?

One of the main reasons to merge to form Tower Family Healthcare, is for us to be able to expand the services that we are able to provide locally. For example, we hope to be able to include access to see other healthcare professionals e.g. Pharmacists for medication reviews, Physiotherapists etc..

Q14. How will the new arrangement benefit GPs and Nurses at the practice?

Our GPs, Nurses and Healthcare Support Workers will all have access to a wider pool of clinical knowledge and expertise to draw upon and we will have far greater opportunities to specialise in areas such as diabetes, care of the elderly, palliative care and urgent care access.

We also anticipate that the current level of administrative tasks that our clinical staff perform will be dramatically reduced, therefore allowing them more time to spend on responding to and delivering the clinical care our patients need. 
We will also be able to better cover any planned or unplanned absences which we hope will alleviate the resulting pressures felt by remaining staff. In addition, we should also be able to reduce our reliance on expensive locum and bank staff. 
We also anticipate that all of our staff will be provided with greater opportunities for enhanced training and career development.

Q15. I have further questions I would like to ask and / or comments I would like to make. How do I do this?

You can put these in writing for the attention of the Practice Manager at your current surgery
OR…
You can submit any questions and / or comments to our Tower Family Healthcare Programme Manager, Kate Foster: kate.foster1@nhs.net 
We will aim to respond to any questions / comments within 10 working days of receipt.