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Proposed Merger of Amicus Health and Mid Devon Medical Practice

Dear Patient,  

Amicus Health (Clare House, Tiverton and Bampton Surgeries) and Mid Devon Medical Practice (Witheridge, Morchard Bishop and Cheriton Fitzpaine Surgeries) are looking to work more closely together and are exploring options for a future  merger. The partners of both practices already have a long history of working together to improve patient care. This feels like a natural progression for both practices to strengthen our position in continuing to provide high quality NHS care to our patients long into the future. 

A merger presents a unique opportunity to join two high performing local practices, combining our strengths, resources, and expertise to help us become more resilient, safeguard against staffing shortages and combine efforts to recruit GPs and other health professionals.   

Should the merger proceed [we need to get NHS approval for this], we anticipate that, in the short-term, our patients would see no change to how they currently access appointments, clinical staff and services at any of the surgeries and branch sites.  However, the merge would provide additional options for sites where our patients can be seen, which we believe will allow greater flexibility and enhance patient choice.   

The merged practice would be formed of five  surgeries (Bampton, Clare House, Cheriton Fitzpaine, Morchard Bishop and Witheridge).  It is our intention that all five surgeries remain open and there are no proposed changes to opening hours or patterns.  

Our primary goal in joining forces is to enhance our practicesí capabilities, improve patient care, and ensure sustainability and resilience. Our staff team are central to our current success and there are no proposed changes to staffing levels as part of the merger.  You will continue to see the same familiar faces in our nurses, doctors and support staff.  

You can expect better services for patients across both practices: 

  • Increased choice to see male and female GPs 
  • Greater choice of when and where to see a GP, Nurse Practitioner, Nurse, or Healthcare Support Workers
  • Improved quality of services we deliver  
  • A more resilient and consistent service because we can share staff and resources across both practices 

There will be opportunities for partnership working and innovation:  

  • Chance for GPs to develop their skills within the wider community 
  • Staff experience and knowledge to be shared across both practices  
  • Improved training opportunities
  • Wider community engagement


Amicus Health and Mid Devon Medical Practice (MDMP) Merger  

February 2024 - Update

Thank you to all our patients who took the time to complete one of our merger surveys.  We received over 1300 responses.  We have spent some time reviewing all your comments, so our aim is now to address common concerns, queries, and expectations.

1)    Planned Merger Date

 

We originally had a tentative aim for the merger to complete by 01/04/2024. We have made strong progress towards the merger but due to the formal process required the merge is now aimed to be on 01/07/24.

 

2)    Services

We received a lot of requests for additional services, we are however constrained by our NHS contract so we will not be able to provide all your suggested services.  Some suggestions are of services that we do currently offer, these are:

         First Contact Physio Appointments

         Mental Health Practitioner Appointments

         Social Prescribing Services

         Minor operations (where clinically indicated)

         Health Care Checks*

         Weight Management

         Spirometry*

*Health Care Checks and Spirometry are available for patients of Mid Devon Medical Practice.  Amicus are soon to be restarting Health Care Checks and post-merger, we will be looking at how we can offer Spirometry to Clare House and Bampton patients.

We received several requests for a Womenís Health service.  We do have a number of GPs interested in forming this service and post-merger we will be able to look into providing this in more detail.

3)    Travel

 

Patients will remain registered at their current Practice and there is no expectation for you to travel to another site.  Should the merged Practice offer a new service, e.g Womens Health, you may be offered an appointment at another site which isnít your registered Practice.  We will always endeavour to do our best and make all services available and accessible to all our patients wherever possible.

 

4)    Mid Devon Medical Practice Dispensaries

Please be assured that the dispensaries at Witheridge Medical Centre, Cheriton Fitzpaine Surgery and Morchard Bishop Surgery will remain open.

5)    Closures

Please be assured that no practices will be closing as part of this merger.

 

6)    Managing Expectations

Post-merger, current appointment levels, GPís, Nurse and staff levels will remain the same.  There will not be any additional or any fewer appointments available, our patient numbers at each site will remain the same as the are currently.  There may be some efficiencies in the future, but these will not be immediate. 


Patient Questions & Answers 

The following questions and answers have been prepared to assist the patients of Amicus Health and MDMP. As our plans develop, and following feedback from our patients, we will refresh, update, and add to these.  

1. When will the merger take place?  

It is anticipated that the merger would take place by April 2024, subject to all regulatory approvals, and following a period of engagement with patients and the staff who are employed by both GP practices.  

2. Will I still be able to make an appointment to see my usual doctor or nurse? 

Yes. We very much value all the one-to-one relationships our patients have with our doctors and nurses. It is therefore expected that merging practices will further increase our ability to provide you with continuity of care and access to your usual doctor and/or nurse. We also expect to be able to reduce the need for locum doctors and provide you with a greater number of highly skilled local doctors and nurses if  your usual doctor or nurse is absent from work.   

3. Will I still be able to make appointments at my usual doctorís surgery? 

Yes. We will continue to provide daily appointments to see doctors, nurses and healthcare support workers. In addition to these appointments, we will also continue  to offer online consultation via Accurx, which is a convenient way to communicate with the practices.   

As part of the merger process Amicus Health will be upgrading their telephone systems to bring them in line with the system used by MDMP, which will improve the  experience of contacting the practice via the phone.

4. Will my usual surgery opening times stay the same?   

Yes. All surgeries will maintain their current opening times. There will be no changes to our core opening times. We will also continue to offer pre-booked evening and weekend appointments as part of the NHS Enhanced Access service.   

5. Will there be changes made to the way I book appointments? 

No. We do not anticipate any changes to the way you book appointments, and you  will continue to be able to book these in the same way as you do now. As now, we  will continue to contact patients who require scheduled vaccinations, chronic disease  reviews or routine screening, e.g. cervical screening tests.  

There are some planned improvements to our online booking system within Amicus  Health.

6. Will I be able to make an appointment to see a doctor and/or nurse at another GP practice site? 

Initially you will be offered an appointment at the site you are registered with. There may be times when you are offered an appointment elsewhere if this would enhance your care e.g an appointment to see a diabetic specialist GP or Dermatology specialist.   

You will be able to choose to register at a different site.

7. Will I have to go to another GP Practice site for consultations and/or  treatments?   

No. However, if in the future we feel that being seen at the other site provides a better or more appropriate service for specific patients, for example a particular doctor at one site may specialise in respiratory care or diabetes, you may be offered  an appointment at a specific site.

8. Will any service that is currently offered by my usual surgery be removed or stopped?   

No. We do not plan to remove or stop any services. If anything, we anticipate that this merger will bring about a greater choice of services for our patients.   

9. Will there be any changes to how I access the GP out of hours service?   

No. To access a GP when the practice is closed, you will continue to telephone the  NHS 111 service and they will either signpost you to the most appropriate service or arrange for you to access a GP.   

10. Will the current arrangements that I have in place for getting my medicines  stay the same?   

Yes, this will remain the same.   

11. Will the intended merge affect any treatment or medication I am currently receiving either at my usual surgery or any hospital?   

No. Any current treatments, medications or investigations will not be affected by our  intention to merge.   

12. Will I need to re-register to become a patient of the single GP Practice?  What will happen to my health records?
   

No, you do not need to take any action. You will not need to re-register, and we  anticipate that you will remain registered with the same GP as you are now. All our patient lists will automatically be merged into a single GP Practice and your health  records will reside within a single patient database. The NHS safeguards, in relation  to patient confidentiality of information, will continue to remain in place both throughout the transition and afterward.   

13. How will the new arrangement benefit GPs and Nurses at the practice?   

Our GPs, Nurses and Healthcare Assistants will have access to a wider pool of clinical knowledge and expertise to draw upon and will have far greater opportunities to specialise in areas.   

We anticipate being better able to cover planned or unplanned absences, which we hope will alleviate the resulting pressures felt by the remaining staff. In addition, we should be able to reduce our reliance on expensive locum and bank staff. Our staff will have greater opportunities for enhanced training and career development.  

14. Who are Amicus Health? 

Amicus Health are a partnership of eight local GP partners who deliver NHS primary care services to 18,500 patients across Clare House (Tiverton) and Bampton Surgeries. They also deliver surgical services, including vasectomies and carpal tunnel surgery, offering the people across mid and east Devon an alternative to  travelling to Exeter for their procedures.   

15. Who are Mid Devon Medical Practice?  

The Mid Devon Medical Practice comprises three surgeries at Witheridge, Cheriton Fitzpaine and Morchard Bishop, providing services to 5,500 patients living around these three villages. The practice is owned by three GP partners, Dr Degan, Dr Edney and Dr Owens who are local GPs. Geographically our practice boundaries already overlap in some areas.   

16. Is my practice being taken over?  

No, this change will be a merger of the two practices on mutually agreed terms. All partners will be part of the newly formed partnership and have equal voice.   

17. I have further questions I would like to ask and / or comments I would like to make. How do I do this? 

Please email d-icb.amicushealth@nhs.net for Amicus Health queries or email d-icb.mdmp-admin@nhs.net for MDMP queries.

Download the survey (pdf)

Complete our online survery

21st December 2023