The Rothbury Practice in Northumberland is set to become the sixth GP practice in the North East to become part of a pioneering new partnership between Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and local GPs.
From 1 February 2017, The Rothbury Practice will become part of Northumbria Primary Care Ltd (NPC) – a wholly owned subsidiary of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust – which was launched with local GPs in 2015 to offer professional support services to primary care.
Partners at The Rothbury Practice, which was rated as ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in 2016, have led the way to forge the new partnership which will bring many positive benefits for patients. Working with NPC will also allow local GPs to strategically develop the way GP services are run in Rothbury and the surrounding area and ensure they are sustainable in the future.
Over 5,500 patients who are registered at The Rothbury Practice, which also runs a smaller branch surgery in Longframlington, are set to benefit.
There will be no immediate change to the clinical care which patients receive or the doctors, nurses and support staff who they see, however, patients should soon start to see improvements in other areas. This will include access to a wider range of clinical staff to ensure patients see the right healthcare professional at the right time.
Dr Georgina Morgan, who is one of four GP Partners at The Rothbury Practice explained: “As a practice we’ve worked hard to deliver high quality, effective services in the local community and by joining Northumbria Primary Care we know we will be able to continue to build on this and improve our services even further for patients.
“In the year ahead we are aiming to offer more appointment slots and provide care from a broader, highly skilled, clinical team which will include nurse practitioners and clinical pharmacists, as well as GPs. With the support of NPC, it means that as GPs we will be relieved of the business responsibility of running the practice and can really focus our time and expertise where it matters most – on providing and developing high quality clinical services.
“General practice is facing many challenges within the NHS and we believe that embracing change and seeking out new opportunities to work within a larger organisation of practices with NPC will safeguard the future of high quality primary care in the Coquet Valley.”
Set up in April 2015, Northumbria Primary Care Ltd (NPC) now manages six GP practices with around 40,000 registered patients in Northumberland and North Tyneside. It provides everyday support to deliver corporate functions, enabling family doctors to focus on providing care to patients. Other NPC practices include:
- Ponteland Medical Group in Ponteland
- Collingwood Medical Group in Blyth
- Cramlington Medical Group in Cramlington
- Spring Terrace Health Centre in North Shields
- 49 Marine Avenue Surgery in Whitley Bay
Patients at these practices have already seen major improvements since becoming part of NPC, including earlier routine and same-day appointments and a new centralised booking service which has improved access even further.
Dr Nigel Twelves, GP for Ponteland Medical Group and clinical director of Northumbria Primary Care Ltd. said: “We are delighted to welcome The Rothbury Practice and look forward to working more closely with GPs in the Coquet Valley. Our aim is simply to help ease the burden on general practice by providing many of the professional support functions which are needed to run an effective service in today’s NHS.
“Key to the success of NPC has been the true partnership approach with local GPs over the past 18 months. This has been made possible thanks to the extremely close links between primary and acute care that exist and a growing recognition across all parts of the NHS that we must work much more closely, between all parts of the system, to truly understand, share and, ultimately, address the challenges we collectively face.”
Local County Councillor Steven Bridgett welcomed the news. He said “This is a positive step for patients in Rothbury, Coquetdale, Whittingham Vale, Glanton and Elsdon and, most importantly, will help free up valuable GP time so they can concentrate on what they do best – looking after patients. That is, after all, what they are trained for and experts in.
“The practices which are already part of NPC have seen some really positive changes with major improvements in primary care access for patients and we hope to see this in our area too.”
“Any opportunity that has the potential to free up the time currently spent by our GPs in managing the practice and allows them to spend more time with patients, can only be a good thing for us as residents.”
NPC is led by local GPs and builds on years of successful collaboration between primary and acute care in Northumberland and North Tyneside. For more information about NPC Ltd, visit www.northumbriaprimarycare.co.uk or contact NPC@northumbria.nhs.uk.