What are the benefits for WES patients? 

Imagine your GP practice is a small ship on a vast ocean, and the captain has to carry more and more cargo each year to make financial ends meet. Every year the cargo gets heavier and heavier. The ship is leaky and has to spend time in dock, and the ship’s hands fall ill as the work gets harder, some leave to work for Red Funnel. The captain needs a bigger ship if he’s going to stay afloat! 

The cargo in General Practice is NHS bureaucracy – CQC inspections, healthcare regulations, data protection requirements, quality targets, mandatory training, employment law, instrument calibration, payroll – the list is endless, and enough to sink the ship.

By working together, practices can better recruit and share clinical staff, appoint specialised administrators such as finance and HR, and provide career progression. All these things make a GP practice more viable and stable for the long term. This is good news for patients, your GP practice will be there for you when you need it! Small practices like WES are taking the initiative before things get too hard.

What are the benefits for Living Well patients?

Why is it in Living Well’s interest to merge with WES? Great question, and the answer is two-fold – we are strengthened by more doctors working with us, and secondly we ensure the stability of practices in our region, which means better healthcare for everyone. 

How are practice mergers helpful?

As many of our patients know Living Well is no stranger to mergers, having been created from four partnerships joining together. What benefits have these mergers brought to our patients? Well to name just a few: 

  • We have the largest clinical team in the area with over 25 permanent doctors.
  • Our patients have unparalleled 24/7 access via econsult, with responses same day or next day.
  • The average wait time in our telephone queue is under three minutes. 
  • Our respiratory centre of excellence provides state of the art FeNO and spirometry diagnostic testing and our asthma and COPD patients have better control of their long term condition compared with the national average. 
  • We have a team of specialist nurse leads – respiratory, diabetes, women’s health and tissue viability who train our long term condition nurses, which drives care excellence.
  • We have over 30 in-house professionals to compliment our GPs – physiotherapists, mental health nurses, clinical pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, physicians associates and care coordinators.
  • Our clinical team is fully supported by financial, HR, and managerial teams, so it’s not all left to the ‘practice manager’.

For all the above reasons the partners at Living Well are supportive of a merger with WES. We are seeking feedback from our patients. Your feedback matters as it will help shape our approach. As with our previous mergers our surgeries will remain open, we don’t sack staff and our focus is on improving access and improving health outcomes. Even though we are a large organisation we are still owned and run as a traditional GP partnership and the partners at WES, Dr Rodrigues and Dr Smallwood will both join the Living Well partnership board if the merger is approved. 

Community engagement is conducted by the local health board which has a duty to review patient feedback prior to approving any mergers. Please spare a moment to contribute to the consultation which will be open over the next six weeks.