Living Well runs two GP contracts, one for the practices in Southampton, and a second for the St Luke’s and Botley surgeries. This has been the case since 2017.
This division is a hang over from the days when Southampton and Hampshire used to have two separate health boards, but they now have one covering Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight.
LWP is one team of partners, doctors, nurses, managers and receptionists all working across all of our sites. Our call handling receptionists are based at St Luke’s, our pharmacy team are based at Ladies Walk, and our administrative teams at Bitterne Park and Weston Lane. We have one rota for the doctors, one process for ordering new kit and drugs, and one set of accounts. So in that sense we are already merged.
The trouble with running two contracts is that it creates lots of unnecessary bureaucracy. Imagine two CQC inspections, and two IT systems to manage, and two reporting systems, and two commissioners… you get the idea.
So our proposed merger joins our two contracts into one to reduce our red tape, freeing up our team including our doctors to do more patient care. We would like to reassure our patients that we are not making any changes to patient care, or which surgery you can be seen at. We continue to increase our surgery opening times post Covid, with Bitterne Park, Weston, Ladies Walk and St Luke’s all open full time. Botley and Harefield are now open four days per week and we are committed to increasing opening times further giving all of our patients a local option with the reassurance and stability of a wider network of practices.
We always try to accommodate patient preferences when they need to be seen at a particular site and that’s not going to change. We do have some specialist services that rotate around our main sites – minor surgery, joint injections, and specialised wound care – we do these locally so that our patients don’t have to travel to the hospital to get this care. So we are really clear, we are not expecting our patients to travel or change the way they currently access their surgery.
We are working closely with our Health Board (NHS Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight CCG) to make sure we listen really carefully to all concerns and queries our patients and stakeholders may have and take these into account. A final decision on the proposed merger will be taken by the CCG’s Primary Medical Care Committee later this year. If you would like to feed into this process you can find out more through the CCG FAQ publication and via the stakeholder survey. Whether you feel positively or negatively about the proposal we would encourage you to engage with the survey. You are also welcome to contact the partnership directly with feedback using the banner below.