New arrangements have been made to replace shambolic telephone and back offices services provided by Intergral Medical Holdings for five Swindon medical practices.
The Manchester-based company took over the office management and IT services at Moredon Medical Centre, Abbey Meads Medical Centre, Phoenix Surgery, Eldene Surgery and Taw Hill Medical Practice in 2017.
But patients complained about poor service - saying that they were kept waiting on the phone for an hour only to be told there were no appointments.
And the NHS’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) - the clinically-led statutory NHS organisation responsible for the planning and commissioning of health care services - found that patients had "continually raised concerns" about the difficulty of getting through to their surgeries and making appointments.
Five GP practices – Abbey Meads Medical Group, Taw Hill Medical Practice, Moredon Medical Centre, Phoenix Surgery and Eldene Surgery – had been working in partnership with IMH until May 2019, when it was announced the group would be withdrawing from primary care in Swindon.
Since then, work has been ongoing to identify local, NHS-based providers for each of the five practices. And while some due diligence exercises are still taking place, the CCG can confirm that permanent arrangements have now been made for Taw Hill Medical Practice and Eldene Surgery.
Taw Hill will become a branch surgery of Westrop Medical Practice from Tuesday 1 October, while Eldene Surgery will be managed by Victoria Cross Surgery from Monday 11 November.
Discussions regarding the remaining three practices continue to be had.
However, the CCG can say that Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is currently exploring how it may be able to support both Abbey Meads Medical Group and Moredon Medical Centre, and that another Swindon GP practice is in talks to take on the running of Phoenix Surgery.
Dr Sarah Bruen, Managing Partner at Westrop Medical Practice and Swindon CCG Clinical Chair, said: ‘We are delighted to be able to be part of the solution for Taw Hill Medical Practice, which will become a new branch surgery of Westrop Medical Practice.
“This merger will not only provide patients and staff of Taw Hill with long-term stability, but also allow us to offer a wider range of services to all our patients”
Dr Philip Bauliah, GP Partner at Victoria Cross Surgery said: ‘We are delighted to be taking over the running of Eldene Surgery and are looking forward to providing the quality of service and care that is currently available at our Victoria Cross Surgery and Eldene Health Centre sites. “We would like to emphasise that Eldene Surgery will be run separately from our existing surgeries.
“The service at Victoria Cross and Eldene Health Centre will not be affected by these changes and we will continue to provide the best quality of care and look for continual improvements to these sites.
“The additional clinical rooms at Eldene Surgery will enable us to provide more services to people in the Eldene area. “This is an exciting time for us, and we are happy to have this opportunity to grow our support for our patients and the community."
Nicki Millin, Director of Strategy and Transformation for Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCGs said: “We know this has been a difficult time for both patients and staff at these five practices, and we thank them for their patience.
“I would also like to reassure both the patients and staff of Phoenix Surgery, Abbey Meads Medical Group and Moredon Medical Centre that due diligence work with new providers is continuing and we hope to have agreements confirmed in the next few weeks.”