Frequently asked questions
Frequently asked questions
1. Why are the practices merging?
Since December 1st 2022 Paxton Medical Group has additionally provided services to the patients of Townfield Health Centre. During this time, some GPs and nurses from Paxton have been scheduled at Townfield. We have also utilised long-term locums to ensure adequate access during this time. During this time we have been working on aligning services, patient care, management and administration. We believe that the most effective way to further develop our patient services and care for our communities is to complete a full list merger. This will allow us to act as one practice on three sites. All clinicians and services will be available to all patients regardless of the site that the patient is aligned to, or location of the clinician. We strongly believe in continuity of care and care delivered by the most appropriate clinician.
2. What is the anticipated timescale for the merger?
The merging of the patient list will take place on 1st September 2023. This will mean the closing of the Townfield patient list at noon on Friday 1st September. On Monday 4th September all patient records will be accessible on the single list. Existing Claughton and Fender Way patients will be unaffected. However, during the afternoon of Friday 1st September, Townfield patient notes will not be accessible. The practice will remain open however only emergency services will be available to Townfield patients until 8:30am on Monday 4th September.
3. What will each location be called after the merger?
Services will be delivered at all three practices under the name of Paxton Medical Group. Sites will retain their existing names: Claughton, Fender Way and Townfield. All patients will be able to access all services at all three sites and will be clearly instructed as to which location their appointment will take place in. Consideration will always be given to those with access concerns and where possible, service at their preferred site will be offered. An example of our shared service is phlebotomy, which already takes place at the Fender Way site, for patients of all three practices. Patients will be able to request specific GPs and will have access to them regardless of the site at which they are operating. Some specialist services, such as minor surgery and baby immunisations, may only be offered from one site. All three sites are accessible on one bus route.
4. Will surgery telephone numbers change?
The telephone numbers will remain the same. We are keen to keep existing telephone numbers and make the system as simple as possible for patients. This may involve moving to a single number and website in the future and we will ensure this is well communicated and managed as and when it occurs.
5. Will I still be able to make an appointment to see my usual GP or nurse?
Yes. Hopefully even more so. We value the one-to-one relationships our patients have with their clinicians. For example, a Claughton patient wanting to see Dr Cox specifically will be able to see her regardless of which site she is working at. Townfield patients that see a GP from Claughton at Townfield, will now be able to follow up with that GP, even if they are subsequently in a clinic at Claughton. Paxton has always operated a GP partner model and continues to do so. As such, we have taken on three new GP partners and additional nursing and non-clinical staff to ensure adequate access to our services. It is expected that the merger will increase our ability to provide our patients with consistent access to consistency and expertise. We will be revising our website to ensure the special interests and expertise of all our 16 GP partners can be seen. This will enable you to make the right choice for your condition. We have an expanding group of nursing staff and other highly skilled non-medical staff such as Health Coaches, Mental health Practitioners, Pharmacists, Physiotherapists and Care coordinators and we hope you will continue to assist us in navigating your care to the most appropriate service, which is not always your usual GP. That said, access to your usual GP is important, and now this will be possible regardless of which site they are working at.
6. Can patients request an appointment at the other practices?
Yes, patients will have access to book an appointment with any doctor or nurse at any of the three practice sites. Our aim is to provide better access to appointments and services. We appreciate your co-operation with our reception team who will try and navigate you to the best person for your condition and urgency utilising our care navigation protocols. We must emphasise that sometimes this is one of our Allied Health Professionals, such as a physiotherapist, and not always a GP.
7. Will my usual surgery opening times stay the same?
Yes, we are not currently anticipating any changes to our core opening times. We also hope to be able to improve and extend our opening times for all our patients in the future.
8. Will the intended merger affect any treatment or medication I am currently receiving?
No. Any current treatments, medications, investigations and/or referrals will not be affected.
9. How will the new arrangement benefit GPs and Nurses at the practice?
Our GPs, Nurses, Physician Associates and other Health Support Workers will all have access to a wider pool of clinical knowledge and expertise to draw upon and will have greater opportunities to specialise in areas such as diabetes, care of the elderly and urgent access. We will also be able to provide better cover for any planned or unplanned absences which we hope will alleviate the pressures felt by remaining staff. Consistent permanent staff will mean minimal use of temporary, locum and bank staff. We anticipate that the merger will provide more opportunities for enhanced training and career development. In addition, we are hoping to develop enhanced specialty care in-house, reducing need for referrals, travel and delay in getting the right expertise and treatment for our patients. Examples of enhanced level care currently available includes Diabetes, Dermatology, Respiratory, Musculoskeletal, Mental Health, Cardiology, Gynaecology, Menopause services, Minor Surgery and Travel services.
10. Will any staff be made redundant?
No. We do not foresee any reason why Paxton Medical Group would need to make any staff redundant. As we continue to grow, our services are likely to require additional staff rather than reduced staffing levels.
11. Will any service that is currently offered by my usual surgery be removed or stopped?
No. We anticipate that this merger will bring about a greater choice of services.
12. Will I have to go to another GP Practice site for consultations and/or treatments?
Not in most cases. However, if in the future, we feel that if one of the 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 this specialised care. You can choose this option. We may also look to centralise some areas of care, such as immunisations, baby checks, urgent care, specialist clinics to one site.
13. Will this make getting an appointment harder?
We anticipate that it will be easier to get an appointment rather than harder. We will continue to use our care navigation protocols to get you to the right person at the right time. We continue to ask patients not to feel they have to call at 8:30 or all appointments will be gone. We will continue to provide adequate on the day appointments for urgent issues, a variety of alternatives to a GP appointment for appropriate and non-urgent issues, pre-booked appointments and the use of email, phone and face to face consultations as preferred and required. Non-urgent requests can continue to be made using the online consultation tool Patches, available on the practice website.
14. Will the practice continue to have a Patient Participation Group?
We will work with patients and PPG members from all three practices and hope to take this opportunity to form one Patient Group. We would encourage any patient who would be interested to join our Group.
15. If the practices don’t merge, what will the future look like?
General Practice has seen a substantial increase in demand coupled with fewer doctors choosing a career in primary care. Paxton Medical Group is proud of its ability to continue to recruit the highest quality GPs, medical and non-medical staff. The ability to develop, share and maximise the use of in-house expertise is essential to developing a continually developing high quality service and work environment. The merger will reduce isolation, improve co-operation and streamline services allowing our development and to continue to provide a high standard of care which is sustainable for the future.
16. Are any sites at risk of closure?
No, we are in the process of agreeing long term leases on all three sites. Consulting space and office space is constantly at or near full capacity and we do not envisage any site being at risk of closure as the estate is needed and essential. In addition, we are keen to remain close to our patients and see the local health centre as a cornerstone for our intentions to contribute to the development community-based population health initiatives.
17. Is this just about saving money?
Although we understand that the financial resources available to provide your health care are limited, the purpose of this exercise is not to save or make money. There will be some services that we can develop and provide, given a larger patient number. There will be increased ability to provide cross cover and greater staff numbers, reducing the impact of annual leave and absence on services. For example, we only have one part time physiotherapist available at Townfield. In future, when he is on holiday, we will continue to be able to offer physiotherapy appointments to all our patients. Additional staff have already been engaged to ensure the access levels remain excellent at Claughton and Fender Way and improved to this level at Townfield.
18. Who makes the final decision?
The decision to merge the lists has already been approved and will go ahead. We appreciate that it is late in the process for you to be receiving this information and apologise for this being the case.
18. Will my feedback be listened to?
Yes. We really value the input our patients and stakeholders can contribute to this process. We are trying to provide the best possible service to meet our patient and community needs so your views and feedback are important to us.
19. If I have further questions I would like to ask or comments to make, how do I do this?
Please emil us via email@example.com - please inlcude your name, date of birth and contact info. We will aim to respond to you within 10 working days