Louth GP Practices Propose Merger and Launch Consultation

Two Louth-based GP practices launched a three-month consultation on their proposal to merge into one practice.

The Kidgate Surgery and James Street Practice have decided to propose a merger for a number of reasons; both practices strongly believe in, and are committed to, maintaining local provision of high quality general practice in our rural community, and both believe the best way to maintain, improve and deliver a high quality service to their patients is through a closer working arrangement in the form of a single practice.

“Our proposal means that Kidgate patients will be able to continue to access high quality care close to their current practice,” explains Dr Stovin, GP and Partner, The Kidgate Surgery.  “We also have to consider the future of primary care provision locally and the difficulty recruiting GPs.  The proposed merger, if it goes ahead, will ensure continuity of care for patients and should help us attract new GPs by being able to provide more desirable career opportunities.”

If the merger is approved the new practice will be called James Street Family Practice, and its practice boundary will cover the boundaries of the current two practices.  Staff from Kidgate Surgery will move to join colleagues from James Street Practice at the new merged practice.

“This means that patients from either practice will still be able to see their preferred doctor or nurse,” adds Dr Ko, GP and Senior Partner, James Street Practice.  “The services offered to patients by both practices are very similar, if anything patients will find they can access a wider range of services as a consequence of a merger, for example Kidgate patients will be able to access leg ulcer and Older Adults enhanced services, and James Street patients will benefit from access to Yellow Fever services.  James Street is also a GP training practice and this will help improve recruitment and retention at a time when the profession is facing a workforce crisis.

“The merged practice will adopt the ‘Dr First’ appointment system currently employed by James Street.  Dr First is a demand-led system that allows practices to effectively manage patient demand through clinicians talking to all patients on the telephone and assessing them on a clinical priority basis.  If either the doctor or patient needs or wants to see the other, then an appointment is booked for the patient.  This way, every patient triaged will be seen on the day by the clinician that best suits their needs.”

Both James Street and Kidgate are keen for their patients to share their views, either via a survey available online https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JamesSKidgate or by completing a paper copy available at both practices.  In addition, the practices will be running two events for patients to attend, which will include question and answer sessions, as follows:

  • Thursday 20 July, 1-3pm, Eastgate Union Church, Louth
  • Thursday 27 July, 6.30-8.30pm, Eastgate Union church, Louth

All of the venues chosen for the events are fully accessible.

After the conclusion of the three-month consultation, if the practices’ proposal goes ahead, the merger will be completed by 1 April 2018.

“We think what we are proposing is good news for our patients,” adds Dr Stovin.  “It would enable us to safeguard high quality and sustainable primary care services in the future.  Our patients are always our number one priority in anything we do and the proposed merger does not change this.

“The combined practice team will also mean that we can look to provide other services and James Street is currently in the process of undergoing improvements to its premises that will result in additional clinical space.  Overall, we think that a merger would provide a layer of resilience for patients and primary care services in the Louth area.”

The three-month consultation on the proposal to merge will run from Monday 10 July until Monday 09 October.