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NOTES FROM PUBLIC MEETING WITH NHS ENGLAND 18 AUGUST 2015
PRESENT;- Cllr Rob Shephard (In the Chair), Dr. Craig Melrose, NHS Interim Medical Director for Cumbria and the North East, Christine Keen (NHS Director of Commissioning Strategy) and 51 members of the public.
Introduction & Background
The Chairman opened the meeting and invited Dr Melrose to outline the current situation regarding Glenridding Health Centre.
Dr Smith is retiring and the NHS has been in a process to ensure that there is a continuation of services at the Glenridding Practice. There are currently around 750 registered with the Glenridding practice. The Lakes Medical Practice, located in Penrith, has been chosen through a procurement process and the two Practices will now meet to discuss the impending changeover with a due date of 7th October 2015. This process is known as the “mobilisation” process.
The Lakes Medical Practice
The current Lakes Medical Practice has 5.4 full time Doctors and at present each doctor is responsible for approximately 1750 patients which is a good ratio when compared to the rest of the country. The Penrith practice currently has flexible opening hours, including being open until 19:00 3 days a week and Saturday mornings (08:30-11:30).
Glenridding will become a “branch” surgery for the main practice in Penrith, and patients registered with the Glenridding Surgery will have a choice of appointments at Glenridding or Penrith. A Doctor will be available on site in Glenridding from Monday to Friday. The fine details of opening hours and surgery hours at Glenridding will be subject to the ongoing discussions with Lakes Medical Practice, although the surgery ‘call centre’ will be operational from 8am to 6.30pm Monday to Friday.
A Contract in perpetuity is being granted to Lakes Medical Practice to provide services at Glenridding 5 days a week and this will create stability for the future. The contract has not yet been formally signed and the specific details of the service provision to be available at Glenridding are being agreed as part of the current “mobilisation” process.
Mobilisation starts this week (Thursday) when the two Practices begin talks to achieve a smooth changeover. The Patient Participation Group (PPG) has been involved and will continue to be involved in these negotiations. Some members of the public present expressed disquiet that they knew nothing about the PPG and asked for information on how they could communicate and make representations to it. The Chairman undertook to make this information widely available to local residents so that they felt included in the process. There is only a narrow time frame for representations and these should be fed through the Parish Council in the first instance and then fed into the mobilisation process through NHS England.
Specific Issues raised by members of the public included:
Will we be able to make an appointment on the phone or drop in” All appointments are likely to be through the existing Lakes Medical Practice “call back” booking mechanism over the phone when patients ring up and are called back (usually within one hour) to either make an appointment at the surgery or discuss issues over the phone. This service will operate from 08:00 to 18:30 Monday to Friday.
What impact would the proposed funding cuts have to the service (up to a 50% reduction over the next 5-7 years). Dr Melrose confirmed that under the new General Medical Services contract that equalises funding across all GP surgeries in the country, the Glenridding Surgery will receive in the region of £100k from the NHS. This represents a 50% cut in the present PMS funding as the Practice moves to the new model. The formula being followed is the Carr-Hill formula adopted by the NHS and includes a rurality factor and will be implemented over 7 years. The Lakes Medical Practice is aware of the proposed cuts and this has been factored in to their proposal as far as is possible.
The number of tourists and temporary residents who use Glenridding Surgery who need to be factored into the discussions, which greatly increases the “750” number on the current register
The demographics of the community including young families and elderly residents for whom a local surgery and dispensary are invalauble
Will there be a doctor on site all day? As above, no answer could yet be given, however assurance was given that availability to a Doctor through the local surgery will always be there, and a Doctor will be in Glenridding every day from Monday to Friday – hours to be agreed.
Has the Contract Yet Been Signed? As above not yet, although Christine Keen said that the GMS Contract is available to view on the internet. At present a signed letter of intent had been agreed with Lakes Medical Practice with the actual contract awaiting signature.
What will happen to the current members of staff” The current staff members are being transferred to the Lake Medical Practice under the standard TUPE arrangements and decisions will be taken over final staffing during the mobilisation process.
How will patients be involved in the mobilisation process As above anyone with any issues or concerns can raise them either through the Patient Participation Group or the Parish Council, who will then feed them to NHS England. Obviously the sooner this is done the better so if anyone has any concerns please contact one fo the above groups as soon as possible.
When will the Lakes Medical Practice be able to meet with the Community to discuss the new arrangements? Christine Keen promised to find out the earliest possible date before the 7th October although expectation was that a letter of information will be sent to every patient at Glenridding Surgery week commencing 28th September 2015. This will give them everything they need to know in relation to the new arrangements.
The Chairman thanked the NHS Officers & public for their attendance and declared the Meeting closed.
NHS Letter to Patterdale Parish Council - 14th August 2015