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Improving Lincolnshire’s health and wellbeing

NHS Lincolnshire CCG has transferred to the new NHS Lincolnshire Integrated Care Board (ICB). Please now visit www.lincolnshire.icb.nhs.uk

Newark Road Surgery and Portland Medical Practice Merger FAQs

Want to know more about the Newark Road Surgery and Portland Medical Practice Merger process?

We have a full list of Frequently asked questions about the merger process which can be viewed below:

Patient letter re proposed merger for Newark Road Surgery and Portland Medical Practice

  • Why are you doing this?
    At present the two practices are having difficulty in recruiting salaried GPs and like many practices, are finding that GPs are unwilling to become partners due to the considerable investment and responsibilities involved. We know that merging into a larger practice would offer a wider range of opportunities to prospective partners GPs, and other clinical staff, by allowing increased opportunities for career progression and clinical training. By working together, the merged practice will have three GP trainers who are keen to establish a training hub to be able to train GP registers. The existing links Portland Medical Practice have with the University will support this; and by doing this we will be able to help grow the workforce in Lincoln and demonstrate the opportunities available locally for our future GP’s. This in turn will secure the continued provision of high quality primary medical services to our patients.

    We believe that by merging, patients could benefit from the combined clinical skills and expertise offered across both practices because clinical staff will be able to develop skills in more specialist areas. For patients, this means they could be seen by someone who specialises in areas such as palliative care, diabetes, sexual health, mental health, or minor surgery. It will also allow for improvements in telephone and remote access, aiming for improved accessibility and urgent care provision. These plans could also make it more attractive for clinicians to come and work in Lincolnshire.

    We strongly believe that the merger is the most effective way to ensure a sustainable and resilient future, and most importantly, offer the best possible service to our patients.

  • How will the proposed merger benefit patients?
    By sharing the resources and expertise of the two current practices, this proposal will strengthen our ability to maintain high quality care for our patients, invest in innovation and create a stable and sustainable GP Practice for the future. The proposed new merged practice will provide greater flexibility, patient choice and access for patients.
  • What will change?
    Initially there will be little change, however, over time there will be improved access to services and an opportunity to introduce new services out of the hospital setting and closer to home.
  • How will access be increased?
    A merged practice with a list size of nearly 30,000 will enable us to benefit from economies of scale that smaller practices often cannot realise. We will be able to drive quality improvements that deliver equitable and responsive care to our patients. As part of the merger plans, we are looking at a new and improved telephone system for improved telephone access and training of our staff to ensure you see the most appropriate clinician to meet your needs. We will also be able to offer patients access to a wider range of skilled clinicians.
  • Are any of the GP practices going to close?
    No, the two GP practices will continue to operate from their existing premises during their current opening hours.
  • The practices are part of different Primary Care Networks, what will happen after the merger?
    Up to now Newark Road Surgery have been working as part of the Appex Primary Care Network (PCN) and Portland part of Marina PCN. It is proposed that the merged practice would fall under the Marina PCN once the practice merges. The change of PCN for Newark Road patients will be seamless and there will be no negative impacts on patients.

    The current additional services of Clinical Pharmacy, First Contact Physio and Social Prescribing will still be available to all patients.

    Primary Care Networks (PCNs) are groups of GP practices working together with other local organisations, such as community, mental health, social care, pharmacy, hospital and voluntary services. They will support the needs of a population that has grown, is living longer, and may need to access local health services more often.

    See more information about Primary Care Networks in Lincolnshire.

  • Will there be any changes to the way I access services?
    Patients will still be able to access the same services they currently receive, however, they will be offered more choice, for example - they could choose to be seen by someone who specialises in areas such as palliative care, diabetes, sexual health, mental health, or minor surgery. Patients may choose to attend appointments at another site.
  • Will I be able to see the same staff that I see now?
    Yes, we are committed to provide continuity of care to our patients and so the same staff and GPs will still be working at each practice. There will inevitably be changes to staff as time moves on and which would have naturally occurred without a merger.
  • Will it affect any of the staff’s employment at the surgery?
    All staff working at the practice will continued to be employed. However, like with any other employment, staff are free to pursue roles away from the practice if they wish.
  • How will the merger benefit the staff at the practices?
    The merger would mean that the two clinical teams working together will have a wider pool of knowledge and clinical experience to share with each other, this would lead to better clinical care for patients. The expansion of the team will create a more robust support structure and give greater development and training opportunities to all staff.
  • Will you have to lose any administration staff?
    No, we are both very busy practices, and we anticipate expanding services for patients when the merger is complete.
  • Will I need to re-register to remain on the practice list?
    No. If you are currently registered at Newark Road Surgery, Portland Medical Practice, or the University of Lincoln Health Service you do not need to do anything and can continue to access the practice as normal.
  • Will this affect any treatment or medication I am currently receiving?
    No, any current treatment or medication you are receiving will not be affected.
  • Will the telephone numbers change?
    This will be reviewed as part of the merger project and we will ensure you are informed of any changes before they happen, in the meantime patients should continue to contact their usual surgery using the existing telephone numbers.
  • Will I have to travel to another location for my appointments?
    We are passionate about Continuity of care and so you will continue to see staff in your usual location. In some circumstances it may be more beneficial for you to be seen at another site, for instance, if you need to see a specialist in a particular area. If you wish to take advantage of this, you will be able to, however the existing service and staff are remaining at the current sites.
  • Will the location of prescriptions dispensary change?
    Patients will continue to have prescriptions dispensed at their usual pharmacy.
  • Will the practice have a new name if the merger goes ahead?
    Yes, if the merger goes ahead there will be a new name, however this has not yet been decided. We would be open to suggestion from patients.
  • Will the clinical computer system remain the same?
    Yes, both practices use the ‘SystmOne’ clinical system. These systems will need to merge so that the merged practice will have a single clinical IT system for all our patients. All patients will be assigned to a base site based in where they are currently registered.
  • Is the merger supported by NHS Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group?
    For the proposals to go ahead, they will need to be approved by NHS Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the NHS organisation responsible for planning, buying, and monitoring NHS services locally. As part of our application, we are undertaking a patient consultation before a decision is made by the CCG. The consultation will be open until noon on Sunday, 16 January 2022.
  • How can I take part in the consultation and share my views?
    Patients can leave their feedback on this proposal by 12 noon on Sunday 16 January 2022 by completing our questionnaire available online. Hard copies are also available from each practice. Several planned events have been organised for patients to attend. The events that have taken place so far have been recorded, and are available to play back on the CCG’s website.
  • When will the changes happen?
    Should NHS Lincolnshire CCG approve the proposals, the changes will take affect from 1 April 2022.
  • What if I do not wish to remain registered with the new merged practice if it goes ahead?
    If you have any concerns that could be answered without the need for you to change, please do speak to the practice first. If you still feel that you do not wish to be a patient at the new merged practice if this proposal goes ahead, speak to a member of staff who will be able to advise of you on alternative options. You can use the NHS website to find GP services near you – all you need is your postcode. Find a GP - NHS (www.nhs.uk). Prior to registering, you will need to confirm with the new GP practice that your home address falls within their catchment area and that they are taking new patients.
  • Message from the practices
    We would like to reinforce our enthusiasm for this very exciting proposal for change and feel that merging is the most effective way to ensure a sustainable and resilient future and offer the best possible service to our patients.