Information for Patients June 2018
The Partners of Milestone Surgery and Southwood Practice are pleased to announce a merger to become one practice called Voyager Family Health on 1st October 2018. We believe by doing this, we can meet the more complex needs of a growing population and deliver an even better health service based on patient requirements.
The NHS will celebrate its 70th birthday on 5th July 2018. Since the formation of the NHS, the health needs of the population have changed. Many people are thankfully living longer but for some, this means living with increasingly complex healthcare needs. Services are under huge pressure to meet these increased demands and general practice needs to evolve and change to provide high quality services for our patients both now and in the future.
As we look to the future, we need to acknowledge the challenges faced by our own practices, and indeed practices across the country. Nationally we are faced with falling GP numbers and difficulties with recruitment and retention. Some of our patients are facing complex medical, mental health and social care needs and there is a strong consensus that it is better for patients if care can be delivered in the community rather than in an acute hospital setting.
To meet these challenges, we need a strengthened workforce and we believe mixed skill teams are the way forward to develop our own ‘new model of care.’ We have already seen the start of this in Farnborough; and some of you will have met our excellent paramedic practitioners from the rapid home visiting service, others will have seen a clinical pharmacist or an advanced orthopaedic practitioner. All this will be needed in addition to our more traditional workforce of GP’s, nurse practitioners, practice nurses and health care assistants. GP’s will work more like hospital consultants at the centre of a skill mixed team. The future will be about improving access for our patients to a clinician with the right expertise to deal with their problem. The Partners at both practices feel strongly that our new model of care will not only improve access to healthcare for our patients, but will also result in a higher quality service.
Practices are being encouraged to become larger to meet some of the challenges faced by general practice. One of the main benefits of being bigger is that we will be able to employ a wider range of staff. We aim to be a modern, forward looking practice with a strong commitment to training and development of our workforce to attract and retain the talented people we need. It is important to act now, rather than waiting until one or both practices become affected by the difficult challenges facing primary care.
In addition to the challenges faced by all practices nationally, we are faced with a local problem. Work done by North East Hampshire and Farnham CCG has shown that Farnborough has particularly poor GP premises as compared to some of the surrounding areas. Both Milestone and Southwood are trying to provide services from buildings that are not fit for purpose and completely at capacity with rising numbers of patients, so we need more space in modern premises.
We are aware that there has been news in the local press about a new ‘Farnborough Centre for Health’ developed by Rushmoor Borough Council. We hope to be able to make a more definite announcement soon, but it looks increasingly likely that we will have the opportunity to move into new modern premises at some time in 2019. To do this, it makes complete sense to have one reception team and one team of clinicians, supported by one team of administrative and managerial staff. This is another compelling reason to merge practices.
We have just started a comprehensive program of engagement and consulting with our staff and patients. We have met with the Patient Participation Groups from both practices and held a joint meeting with representatives from both. We are planning a frequently asked questions document, a joint website, a transport survey/questionnaire, meetings with Community Ambassadors and public meetings over the course of the summer.
We are positive about the future and believe that our new model of care will provide patients with an excellent future proof service. We hope that you will join us in our optimism and will take time to provide us with as much feedback as possible as we design the new service.