Langbaurgh NHS Medical Centre moves to state-of-the-art Coatham Health Village

Posted on January 27, 2012. Filed under: GP-led health centres | Tags: |

Assura Medical | January 27, 2012

Langbaurgh NHS Medical Centre, a GP and nurse-led health service based in the Redcar Primary Care Hospital on West Dyke Road is due to relocate later next month.

The service, which is provided by Assura Stockton, is moving to the state-of-the-art Coatham Health Village on Coatham Road on Monday 20 February 2012. It will join existing services including the Coatham Road Surgery which moved into the health village recently.

Patients will still be able to see a nurse or doctor without an appointment from 8am to 7pm weekdays and from 1.15pm to 5pm at weekends. Unregistered patients may book same day emergency appointments if they are unable to make an appointment with their own GP and new patients are welcome to register if they wish to.

As well as increasing access to GP services, the Langbaurgh NHS Medical Centre provides patients with greater choice to receive advice and treatment for a wide range of minor injuries and illnesses.

The move has long been planned. Ever since it opened in late 2009 the Redcar Primary Care Hospital was a temporary located until a new permanent location became available in the purpose built Coatham Health Village.

Dr Mark Hulyer, a local GP and chair of Assura Stockton, said: “We are delighted to be moving into the state-of-the-art Coatham Health Village on West Dyke Road. The Redcar Primary Care Hospital has always been a temporary location for us and we are looking forward to moving to our new home next month.

“Langbaurgh NHS Medical Centre offers patients high quality, easy and convenient access to a GP or nurse when they need it from 8am to 7pm during the week and from 1.15pm to 5pm at weekends. We also offer emergency appointments to unregistered patients who are unable to get an appointment with their own GP and are open to new patients wishing to register with us.”

Langbaurgh NHS Medical Centre
Coatham Health Village
Coatham Road
Redcar
TS10 1SR

Opening times: 8am to 7pm Monday to Friday
1.15pm to 5pm Weekends
www.langbaurghnhsmedicalcentre.nhs.uk
Tel: 01642 511 722

ENDS

Press enquiries:
Russell Elliott, Assura Stockton LLP. Tel: 020 7380 1794
www.assurastockton.co.uk

Notes to editors

  • Assura Stockton is a partnership between seven local GP practices and leading healthcare provider Assura Medical. It also operates the Stockton NHS Healthcare Centre and Sexual Health Teesside which provides sexual health advice, treatment and education across the whole of Teesside.

Assura Medical are wholly owned by Virgin Healthcare, which is part of the Virgin Group – http://www.assuramedical.co.uk/our-people/

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Private firms to launch legal challenge over scrapping of Darzi centres

Posted on February 4, 2011. Filed under: GP-led health centres | Tags: , |

Pulse – Private firms to launch legal challenge over scrapping of Darzi centres.

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Virgin Group Enters Healthcare Sector With Majority Shareholding in Assura Medical

Posted on March 6, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: |

Assura Medical – Virgin Group Enters Healthcare Sector With Majority Shareholding in Assura Medical.

Highlights

  • Assura Group (“Assura”) has sold a 75.1% stake in its medical services business to Virgin Healthcare
  • In addition to retaining a 24.9% stake, Assura has received a £4 million Loan Note
  • Virgin Group will provide further funding to develop the medical services business
  • Assura will focus on its core property and pharmacy activities


London, March 1st 2010:


Virgin Group (“Virgin” or “The Group”) is today pleased to announce that it has realised a long-held ambition to enter the healthcare sector with the acquisition of a 75.1% share-holding in Assura Medical, a provider of primary healthcare services. Assura will retain a significant minority shareholding in this new partnership. Richard Burrell, Chief Executive of Assura, will join the Board of Virgin Healthcare alongside Patrick McCall and Gaurav Batra from Virgin Group.


The new partnership between Virgin Group and Assura, initially under the Assura Medical brand, aims to become one of the leading companies providing primary healthcare services to the NHS and its patients. Assura will invest £4 million of the proceeds to retain a 24.9% stake in Assura Medical.


Assura Medical forms collaborative joint venture partnerships with NHS GP practices to provide primary care, urgent care and outpatient services, diagnostics and day case procedures outside of hospitals, in the community. This approach demands new ways of delivering services, putting the patient at the heart of the healthcare experience.


Sir Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group, commented:


“Healthcare is a sector that the Virgin Group has been extremely interested in entering for some time but we have always said that the partner and the timing had to be right – with Assura we believe we have found the perfect partner. The Assura Medical business is underpinned by a passion for patients, a strong focus for delivering quality and safe health outcomes and a commitment to work in partnership with those who deliver healthcare.  I am excited that Virgin and Assura will continue to develop this business, working alongside our NHS partners, to bring excellent, high-quality services right to the heart of patients’ communities.”


Richard Burrell, Chief Executive Officer of Assura, commented:


“Virgin is the ideal organisation to enable the Assura Medical business to fulfil its potential. We have developed a strong business model to assist GPs and the NHS and an established platform which, with Virgin’s help, will flourish and be much stronger in the long term. Virgin is a consumer brand synonymous with quality and service and is well placed to serve a patient-led NHS. Assura benefits from the upside of the business through its 25 percent stake and looks forward to a long term partnership with Virgin.”


The management team of Assura Medical will be led by Bart Johnson and Dr Vivienne McVey, both of whom will remain with the business under Virgin’s ownership, providing continuity of existing services and relationships with the NHS, GP partners and patients. The management team remain committed to the original vision of improving the patient experience of healthcare, and are pleased with this significant investment in future opportunities and growth.


Editors notes:


GPCos:


Assura Medical’s GPCos are healthcare provider organisations formed in partnership with groups of GPs. In total, the 30 GPCos represent partnerships with over 1500 GPs servicing more than 3 million patients in England.  They provide a range of high quality primary and intermediate community-based NHS services, including outpatient services, diagnostic procedures, day care surgery and GP-led health centres.  The services provided aim to give choice to patients, often outside of normal working hours, and have strict quality assurance mechanisms in place.


Virgin Group:

Virgin is a leading branded venture capital organization and is one of the world’s most recognised and respected brands. Conceived in 1970 by Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin Group has gone on to grow very successful businesses in sectors ranging from mobile telephony to transportation, travel, financial services, media, music and fitness.  Virgin has ten years experience in wellness through our successful chain of Virgin Active health clubs we now have over 1,000,000 members around the world after starting with one club in Preston 10 years ago.  
Virgin has created more than 200 branded companies worldwide, employing approximately 50,000 people, in 29 countries. Global branded revenues in 2009 exceeded £11.5 billion.


Assura Group


Assura Group, which was established in November 2003, is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is one of the leading healthcare companies in the UK. Assura’s property business develops and retains for long term investment GP surgeries and primary care property. Assura also operates a network of health centre based pharmacies. At 30 September 2009, Assura’s property portfolio comprised 117 investment properties, 3 investment properties under construction and investments in 6 Local Improvement Finance Trusts (LIFT) companies. In addition Assura had 32 pharmacies trading, the majority of which are located within health centres.


For information contact:


Jackie McQuillan or Nick Fox:
Virgin Group Press Office:  + 44 207 229 4738

 

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New surgery in Kingstanding

Posted on January 22, 2010. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories | Tags: |

HEALTHCARE in Kingstanding has been given a boost after a doctors’ partnership signed up to run a new GP practice.

The new practice, based at the Warren Farm Health Centre, will be served by doctors from Assura Vertis, a group of 23 GP practices based in the Redditch and Bromsgrove area.

National investment has been provided to an area which has suffered a greater level of ill health and had access to a lower number of GPs than elsewhere in the country.

Jonathan Tringham, NHS Birmingham East and North director of resources, said: “I am delighted we are working in partnership to produce a new GP practice with high-quality services for patients.

“We have taken into account what our patients wanted from a GP practice and have incorporated views put forward through the public consultation.”

The initiative in Warren Farm Road follows extra funding as part of the Government’s Equitable Access to Primary Medical Care programme, which has enabled NHS Birmingham East and North to commission the new GP-led health centre.

The Warren Farm practice will work with the local community to develop an increased range of health facilities relevant to the local community and will provide extended access to health advice until 8pm two days a week and also on Saturday mornings.

Dr Ian Morrey, a local GP and Assura chairman, said: “We are pleased to have this opportunity to work with NHS Birmingham East and North to provide this additional access to a GP or nurse for the local community.

“We look forward to providing the patients of Kingstanding with high-quality, easy and convenient access to a GP or nurse.”

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Increased GP services for north Birmingham residents step closer

Posted on January 18, 2010. Filed under: GP-led health centres, Press/News Releases, Providers | Tags: |

Assura Group | Press Release | 18 January 2010

A new GP practice is set to open in north Birmingham following a contract award by NHS Birmingham East and North.

Operated by Assura Vertis LLP, the practice will be based at the Warren Farm Health Centre and will work with its local community to develop an increased range of health facilities relevant to the needs of the local population.

The practice will offer increased choice to local patients as well as extended opening hours by opening until 8pm two evenings a week and on Saturday mornings.

The contract was awarded as part of the Government’s national Equitable Access to Primary Medical Care (EAPMC) services programme which was designed to increase access to GPs in communities that have traditionally experienced greater levels of ill health and have access to a lower number of GPs than other areas.

Under the scheme NHS Birmingham East and North has been allocated extra funding to commission new GP practices and a new GP-led health centre. Following a detailed tender process, work on a new practice for Kingstanding was given the green light when the GPs came in to sign contracts with the trust.

Dr Ian Morrey, a local GP and chair of Assura Vertis, said: “Assura Vertis is pleased to have this opportunity to work with NHS Birmingham East and North to provide this additional access to a GP or nurse for the local community. We look forward to providing the patients of Kingstanding with high quality, easy and convenient access to a GP or nurse, when they need it.”

Director of resources for Birmingham East and North, Jonathan Tringham said: “I am delighted that we are working in partnership to produce a brand new GP practice with high quality services for patients. We have taken into account what our patients wanted from a GP practice and have incorporated views put forward through the public consultation.”

ENDS

Press enquiries regarding Assura Group to:

Andrew McKeon, AJM Public Relations.
Tel: 01423 734 560; Mobile: 07802 484 155

Louise Bathersby, Assura Group.
Tel: 020 7107 3830

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GP practice to open its doors to 6,000 Southampton patients next week

Posted on January 10, 2010. Filed under: Press/News Releases, Providers | Tags: |

Southampton Community Healthcare | accessed 10 January 2010

It will be even easier for people in Southampton to access their GP with the opening of the new Adelaide GP Surgery next week (Tuesday 12 January 2010).

Based at the brand new Adelaide Health Centre, which is also home to a range of NHS services, the surgery will offer extended opening hours of 8am to 8pm, seven days week, excluding bank holidays.

With both male and female doctors, the Adelaide GP Surgery will provide the same care offered by a traditional GP practice including flu jabs, blood tests, health promotion services, whilst also being located in the same building as a number of important NHS services. Patients who register with the surgery will be able to see a doctor every day by appointment, and will have the added benefit of being able to walk-in to see an experienced nurse without an appointment between 8am and 8pm.

Dave Meehan, Managing Director, at Southampton Community Healthcare said: “These are exciting times. We are proud to be providing people in Southampton with the opportunity to register with a brand new GP Surgery with the added benefit of a walk-in service for registered patients. The new Surgery, which will have capacity for 6,000 patients, will make it even easier for people to see a GP and other healthcare professionals.”

Lead GP, Dr Mike Brooke who has been a practicing GP in Southampton since 1988 and who was previously based at Atherley House Surgery, said: “The new facilities are good news for people living in the West of Southampton. The staff at the surgery are looking forward to providing patients with high-quality care in a modern and purpose built health setting. We look forward to welcoming the first patients to the new Surgery.”

Bob Deans, Chief Executive, NHS Southampton City, welcomed the opening, saying: “The Adelaide GP Surgery will be a fantastic addition to the NHS services available in Southampton and I am delighted it will officially open to the public next week. The 8am to 8pm opening times will offer improved access and join the majority of practices in Southampton now offering greater flexibility to Southampton patients through extended hours.”

Bob Deans continued: “The new surgery has the added benefit of offering a walk-in service for registered patients, and is based within a state-of-the-art building which is home to a wide range of NHS services. This one-stop-shop feature will mean that those patients who require a wide-range of healthcare treatments will be able to receive excellent care in one, easy to access location. NHS Southampton City is committed to ensuring that healthcare in Southampton meets the real needs of our people, and the opening of the Adelaide GP Surgery is a key development in improving the health of patients and the City as a whole.”

Patients who wish to register with the Surgery, which is based at the Adelaide Health Centre on the Western Community Hospital site, should ring 0300 123 6066 or visit the Surgery from Tuesday 12 January.

Ends

Notes for Editors:

  • Media opportunity: Media are invited to attend the surgery on 12 January 2010 between 10am and 11am for interviews and photo opportunities. Please contact Andrea Musk on 023 8060 8935 to confirm attendance.
  • Attached with this press release are images of the Adelaide Health Centre and the new GP surgery. More images are available on request.
  • Other NHS services available at the Adelaide Health Centre include:
  • PodiatryServices
  • Leg Ulcer and Tissue Viability
  • Physiotherapy
  • Specialist Services
  • Community Neurological Rehabilitation Team
  • Health Visitors
  • An official opening of the surgery will take place later in the year, for which a future media release will be circulated.
  • NHS Southampton City is responsible for investing in health and care services to effectively meet the needs of the City’s population. For more information, please go to www.southamptonhealth.nhs.uk
  • NHS Southampton City now has a Twitter page – sign up today for the latest information atwww.twitter.com/nhs_southampton
  • The Adelaide Health Centre was built under the Government’s Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) scheme by South West Hampshire LIFT Limited, a public private partnership which is owned by NHS Southampton City, NHS Hampshire, Community Health Partnerships and a consortium of companies led by leading health provider Assura. LIFT is a Government vehicle for improving and developing frontline primary and community care facilities. It allows PCTs to invest in new premises in new locations, not merely reproduce existing types of services. It provides patients with modern, integrated health services in high quality, fit for purpose primary care premises. South West Hampshire LIFT Limited is the LIFTCo for the South West Hampshire LIFT area. It is a public private partnership made up of the following constituents: Hampshire and Southampton City PCTs (20%), Community Health Partnerships (Department of Health: 20%) and a private sector consortium (Assura 54%, Geoffrey Osbourne 6%). Please visit the website at: www.swhantslift.co.uk

For more information please contact Andrea Musk, Communications Manager, Southampton Community Healthcare on 023 8060 8935.

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Private company’s losses ‘could lead to Darzi centre sell-off’

Posted on November 27, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories | Tags: |

Pulse | By Ian Quinn | 27 November 2009

Analysts have predicted that one of the biggest private companies in primary care may sell off or close its loss-making GP operations entirely, including its network of Darzi centres, after it announced it was separating the division from the rest of its business.

Despite having won or reached preferred bidder stage for 68 tenders, including a string of GP led health centres across the country, Assura revealed losses before interest and taxes in its medical division of £4.5m.

City experts say Assura shareholders would rather the GP operations were sold off or shut as they are not expected to earn enough money to make a profit for a considerable period.

Announcing its half yearly results, Assura warned that the current high volume of procurement for contracts, such as the Darzi rollout, was likely to slow after the general election and warned that the medical business would ‘be loss making for some time and will consume further cash.’

It added: ‘The board is in the process of evaluating a number of options to separate the GPCo business from the rest of the group.’

City analyst Investec said the move ‘could include sale, spin-off or closure’ of the GP ventures.

It added that it would cost Assura around £10m to spin off or close the ventures but that the benefits of either move would outweigh the long-term damage to the company’s share value of holding on to the loss making division.

Huge doubts have been raised of late into the ability of private sector companies to make what they regard as enough profits from primary care.

Assura’s results reveal it is only half way towards the £60m a year revenues it needs to break even from its GP operations which include GP services, walk-in centres and urgent care centres.

Despite opening a string of centres in Bath, Coventry, Stockton, Hartlepool, Reading, Hull, Hertford and Cheshunt, since April, just three of Assura’s GP companies reported a profit in the first six months of the year.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Richard Burrell, company CEO, said: ‘Both our pharmacy and GPCo businesses increased revenues strongly in the period and our pharmacy business is now cash generative. Trading since the year end has been in line with our expectations and we look to the future with confidence.’

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Safety in numbers: the rise of the GP federation

Posted on November 17, 2009. Filed under: Arm's length providers, Federations, News stories, Providers, Social enterprise | Tags: , |

Pulse | By Nigel Praities | 17 November 2009

It’s two years since the RCGP proposed its ‘roadmap’ for general practice, which envisaged practices working together as federations, pooling skills and resources to broaden the range of services on offer in primary care.

Many at the time thought it would go the same way as the Middle East roadmap for peace. Yet increasing evidence is emerging that GPs are experiencing a major shift in the way they work, some more voluntarily than others.

Nigel Praities investigates the growing move towards new models of working and asks if federations are now the only way forward.

Where does the idea of primary care federations come from?

The RCGP’s ‘roadmap’ was largely designed to steal a march on the market-based approach being spearheaded by Lord Darzi and his NHS Review.

The concept was one of primary care federations giving patients better access to services with change being championed locally by GPs, rather than through ‘one-size fits all’ plans from central Government.

Initially federations were seen as nothing more than glorified practice-based commissioning hubs, but a 2008 paper from the RCGP was crucial in putting more flesh on the bones of the federation concept.

Federations, the paper said, could give practices ‘economies of scale’ they could not achieve otherwise, by sharing back-office functions and directly employing managers and nurses to provide new services.

It gave a list of characteristics a federation should have, including a formal legal structure, an executive management team and a written public constitution.

What evidence is there that federations are beginning to evolve?

There are no official numbers on primary care federations in the UK but, anecdotally at least, it seems more practices than ever are working collaboratively.

Pulse has uncovered evidence of practices linking up in all areas of the country – from the centre of post-industrial Sheffield to the rural heart of Worcestershire.

Trailblazing schemes in Croydon and South London have been followed by other partnerships, with some practices forming limited companies or provider arms.

The schemes involve nearly 300 practices in a wide range of different models, from collaborations with private companies to organic growth from successful PBC hubs.

In Sheffield is a group of 90 GPs working in an area with high deprivation and social need that is heading towards a federated model.

It directly employs specialist nurses to run diabetes and ENT clinics in the community and is working on several schemes to bring other services closer to home, such as midwives to provide obstetrics clinics in GP surgeries.

All the 28 practices in the consortium sign an agreement and work with centrally employed practice managers. They have also formed a provider company this year, Central Care Sheffield Ltd, to take on their projects and save administrative costs.

Paul Wike, Primary Care Lead Manager at the consortium, says: ‘It is safety in numbers, they have another 26 practices standing should-to-shoulder.’

What different models have emerged?

As in Sheffield, many of the practice groupings have grown organically out of PBC clusters or consortiums.

GPs in Brent have recently set up a federation council that contains representatives from the five PBC local clusters. It sits on an executive council with the PCT and looks at how services can be commissioned all over Brent

Dr Ethie Kong, a GP in Brent and member of the federation council, says it gives GPs a powerful voice in how primary care services are commissioned for areas such as improving health inequalities and care for long-term conditions.

‘Some of the needs are common and some specific to the locality. We work within our clusters, and across clusters, and Brent-wide we liaise with the PCT.

‘This means we have local autonomy as well as borough-wide co-operation,’ she explains.

Services are currently provided by the PBC clusters themselves under a not-for-profit social enterprise model, but this may change in the future.

Other areas are working closely with private companies to form provider companies. A network of 22 practices in Worcestershire have formed a ‘GPCo’ through a 50:50 partnership with the company Assura.

Assura provides money to set up the company and shares the profits with the GPs. A statement from Assura says it enables GPs to ‘exploit the economies of scale that a national organisation brings’ by reducing the costs of service design, bid management and service implementation.

‘Due to the fact Assura operates nationally, all of its members are able to benefit from its bulk purchasing power of equipment and utilities, as well as understanding how other localities provide services more efficiently,’ the company says.

PCTs are also seeing the benefit of making practices work together. NHS Tower Hamlets has recently dangled a massive £12million carrot in front of their practices to fund the development of new care pathways and ‘networks’ of GP practices.

As Pulse revealed last week, the PCT – in one of the poorest parts of the country – brought in the external consultants McKinsey to assess their primary care services.

They recommended a 40% increase in funding for primary care and that this should be used to develop networks – with hubs for each care package – and would eventually include specialists, local voluntary organisations and the borough.

Are there any dangers for GPs?

One risk is that the schemes will cause GPs to surrender the protection of their nationally negotiated contracts.

In Tower Hamlets, the additional investment in primary care is dependent on all practices switching to APMS. That could be a bad decision in the long-term, as their contracts could be rewritten at the whim of the PCT or handed to private providers.

The involvement of private companies could also open up GPs to criticism they are profiteering rather than seeking to improve the care of patients.

Dr Michael Dixon, chair of the NHS Alliance, says the way GPs develop their federations will be crucial to whether they survive or not.

‘There are some really big questions here that general practice has to ask itself – are we in it to make a short-term profit or for the long term to make services more responsive to local patients?

‘I think a social enterprise is the best model, because it is really important the extension of services is seen as something done for local people, rather than tabloid headlines saying we are “fleecing” local people again.’

There is also a danger federations will bite off more than they can chew. They are able to take on more risk than an individual practice, as it can be spread more thinly, but this could backfire.

A PBC federation of 32 practices in Bexley made £4m worth of savings after being given real budgets for prescribing last year, but they also took on responsibility for 54% of any overspend, which could have cost them tens or hundreds of thousands.

What does the future hold?

If Tory plans are anything to go by, GPs could see themselves with much greater responsibility for commissioning and real budgets written into their contracts from next year.

This could push those not currently in a federation into thinking about how they can work closer together and become more business-like in the way they organise commissioning.

The NHS Alliance is due to launch a paper this month on developing ‘local care organisations’, extending the federation model to secondary care and other partners.

This model – similar to the networks planned by Tower Hamlets – could see the traditional barriers between different aspects of healthcare being blurred, ideally with GPs driving the changes.

This is the best case scenario, but whatever happens GPs working on their own is likely to be a thing of the past. The formation of federations may be the only way to ensure GP practices remain the basic unit of care for patients, albeit with risks.

As Dr Dixon warns: ‘Whichever party is in power next year, there will be a much bigger drive to emancipate these organisations. Whatever happens there will be change, and GPs should be developing these systems in readiness.’

RCGP chair Professor Steve Field is in no doubt federations are the future.

‘This is the way forward,’ he says. ‘The most important thing is strong GP leadership and that patients are at the centre of it.’

Increasing numbers of practices appear to be heeding that call.

How GP Federations are progressing across the country

1. Bexley: PBC federation of 32 practices that was responsible for making a £1.4 million saving in prescribing cost last year and is now looking at working with consultants to develop new pathways of care

2. Brent: Initially a PBC cluster of 67 practices, it has now progressed to have a GP Federation Council and is involved in all mainstream commissioning and planning

3. Worcestershire: 22 practices working in a ‘limited liability partnership’ with the private company Assura to develop PBC opportunities

4. Lincolnshire: Cluster of 14 practices that is registered as a ‘limited provider company’ and has worked to ensure their local hospital survives by having primary care-led acute medical beds, a GP-led A&E department and holding additional diagnostics in the community

5. Croydon: Led by RCGP fellow Dr Agnelo Fernandes, it is made up of 16 local practices covering 140,000 patients. Recently it won an award for its diagnostics-in-the-community project, providing ultrasound, echocardiography and direct-access MRI

6. Surrey: Epsom Downs Integrated Care Services is a collaborative venture involving a federation of 20 practices in Surrey. It has established nearly 30 new community clinics, enabling over half of out-patient consultations to take place closer to home

7. Sheffield – Consortium of 28 practices that has been working on schemes to improve prescribing and community services for chronic pain and COPD. Has just set up their own provider company – Central Care Sheffield Ltd

8. South London – RCGP vice-chair Dr Clare Gerada’s group of five GP practices across Southwark and Lambeth has set up new musculoskeletal clinic and gynaecological services and was mentioned as a good practice example in the Darzi review

9. Tower Hamlets – Revolutionary plans for primary care ‘networks’ with a hub for each long-term condition, with GPs working with specialists and community/social care services and local voluntary groups

10. Kingston – The Kingston Co-operative Initiative is a not-for-profit limited company overseeing PBC on behalf of 27 practices. Runs an education and support service and a GP-led referral management scheme. Also developing a service provider arm.

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GP federations ‘starting to snowball’

Posted on November 16, 2009. Filed under: News stories | Tags: , |

Pulse | By By Nigel Praities | 16 November 2009

Exclusive: Hundreds of GP practices across the UK are already working in federation-like groupings, just two years after the RCGP’s plans were first mooted, a Pulse investigation reveals.

The schemes – involving thousands of GPs – differ widely in how they operate, with some emerging organically from practice-based commissioning hubs and others more controversially involving private companies.

In total nearly 300 practices in 10 different parts of the country are now working in practice networks amid evidence that the college’s idea of primary care federations may be beginning to take off.

The RCGP told Pulse federations were ‘starting to snowball’ as part of the process of moving care into the community.

The schemes have mostly been welcomed by GP leaders, but some have warned the involvement of private providers – such as Assura – could open up practices to accusations they are ‘fleecing’ local people to make profits.

RCGP chair Professor Steve Field said although most of the new schemes were not official ‘federations’, he had been really pleased to see a significant increase in interest from practices in the federation idea.

‘These things take a while, but I think it is really starting to snowball. They might not call it a federation, but they are working more closely together to provide more services in the community and closer to home,’ he said.

Dr Michael Dixon, chair of the NHS Alliance, also welcomed the schemes but warned GPs about collaborations with private providers.

‘It is really important the extension of services is seen as something done for local people, rather than tabloid headlines saying we are fleecing local people again,’ he said.

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Assura Peninsula Health LLP

Posted on October 16, 2009. Filed under: Press/News Releases, Providers | Tags: |

Assura Peninsula Health LLP | accessed 16 October 2009

Twenty-five Wirral practices joined together in a limited liability partnership to form Peninsula Health in 2007. 

The objective of their partnership is to become a provider of specialist services in a community setting. 

These practices provide care to 122,000 Wirral residents and they will continue to operate as individual general practices looking after their patients as they always have.

Peninsula Health delivers clinical services to all Wirral residents from existing primary care sites – bringing specialist opinion with diagnostic & treatment services closer to the patient in a community setting.  Our services will be consistent with Government policy to enable patient-centered services (See Our Health, Our Care, Our Say).

About Us

Who is Peninsula Health?

Peninsula Health is a limited liability partnership between 25 Wirral practices and Assura Medical. proivde services to all patients free at point of service.

Peninsula Health is a 50:50 joint venture partnership and is led by our Clinical Management Board (CMB) comprising local GPs, a Business Director and one representative from Assura Medical.

Local doctors provide the clinical leadership in identifying and designing high quality and innovative services for the benefit of local residents. Assura Medical bring their management and operational expertise to support local doctors in delivering services.

GPs are not paid to refer patients into services run by Peninsula Health. In line with Department of Health policy, patients are given a choice of providers at the point of referral and should they choose to be referred into a Peninsula Health service, the referrer will inform the declare that they have a commercial interest in the provider organisation.

ALL practice members of Peninsula Health have made a commitment to re-invest any income derived from this partnership into improving patient care in their practices.

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New Health Centre for Weston

Posted on October 8, 2009. Filed under: News stories, Providers | Tags: |

Southern Daily Echo | Southampton PCT | 8 October 2009

Southampton Itchen MP John Denham has opened a new Southampton health centre.

The Weston Lance Centre for Healthy Living has been built on the previous Sun House public house site.

Seven GPs and other staff from the Weston Lane Surgery have relocated to the new centre, which can now cater for around 8,000 patients.

Southampton health bosses also hope to offer other community healthcare services at the complex although no decision has yet been made on what these will be.

Health provider organisation Assura developed the new £5m health centre alongside NHS Southampton City and the Weston Lane Surgery.

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Revealed: NHS secretly wooed private firms over polyclinics

Posted on October 7, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories, Polyclinics, Providers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Pulse | By Steve Nowottny | 7 October 2009

Exclusive: The NHS secretly courted private companies at a series of high-level meetings to encourage them to compete for the new wave of polyclinics and GP-led health centres, Pulse can reveal.

Directors, chief executives and other senior figures from a who’s who of private health providers were invited to regular off-the-record briefings, held every six weeks, to get their advice on tendering and procurement of GP-led health centres and London’s polyclinics.

Details of the meetings, at which no minutes were taken, emerged only this week after Pulse successfully won a nine-month appeal under the Freedom of Information Act.

Attendees included Atos Consulting, Assura Group, Care UK and Alliance Boots (see below).

The last in the series of meetings, which were hosted by NHS London and designed to reassure the private sector about the Government’s commitment to opening up the market, was attended by then-health minister Lord Darzi, as well as UBS Bank, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Dr David Bennett, whose former roles include head of policy at Number 10 and at influential management consultancy McKinsey.

Companies invited to the meetings subsequently bid for and won contracts for dozens of GP-led health centres around the country and have been among those bidding for London’s centres, although NHS London is refusing to reveal how many they have won.

But a briefing prepared for Lord Darzi ahead of the last meeting on 19 August 2008 reveals: ‘This group of private sector CEOs and senior officials meets roughly every six weeks… to discuss concerns of the private sector market in general but specifically issues relating to London polyclinics and how London is handling GP-led health centres.

‘It is now a forum for the market to offer opinions and advice in the run-up to tendering and procurement of primary care services through both models.’

The briefing adds that one function of the meetings is to ensure the NHS is aware of the confidence required to ensure City backing for any ‘ventures’ in primary care.

‘Lord Darzi will be aware the City has grown deeply sceptical about markets in health given the reversal of much of the wave two independent sector treatment centre procurement,’ the report adds.

LMCs responded angrily to news of the meetings, pointing out that GPs had not been invited to similar meetings.

Dr Michelle Drage, joint chief executive of Londonwide LMCs, said: ‘We’ve had our suspicions but it confirms everything we thought must be going on. It stinks – it’s appalling.’

Dr Drage said Londonwide LMCs had found it impossible to organise meetings with NHS London at a similar level to the private sector briefings.

‘I’ve had one such meeting in the past year, with the chief executive,’ she said.

Dr Nigel Watson, chair of the GPC subcommittee on commissioning and service development, said: ‘To brief them like this is blatant and seems very strange when everyone is talking about level playing fields.’

And Dr Sally Whittet, a GP in Lambeth, south London, added: ‘This is wrong. It goes against my idea of the NHS.’

However a Department of Health spokesperson said: ‘The accusation that private companies were ‘secret wooed’ is simply untrue. We have repeatedly made clear that in setting up GP health centres PCTs are expected to carry out an open and transparent procurement to ensure the fullest range of providers can bid including existing GP practices, voluntary and independent sector providers.’

He added: ‘Lord Darzi spent a year working on his review of the NHS and engaged with over 60,000 people – the majority of whom were frontline NHS staff, patients and members of the public. However, given their interests in the future direction of the NHS this also included private sector healthcare providers.

COMPANIES REPRESENTED AT THE MEETINGS

• Alliance Boots
• Atos Consulting 
• Assura Group 
• Ashley House 
• Care UK
• General Healthcare Group 
• HCA International 
• Nuffield Hospitals 
• PWC 
• UBS

The documents that revealed secret meetings between NHS and private sector

Pulse reveals today details of a series of high-level meetings held last year between senior figures in the NHS and leading private sector companies last year.

Read the Department of Health’s final response to Pulse here.

Read the briefing note prepared for Lord Darzi ahead of the meeting on 19 August 2008 here.

Read the full list of meeting attendees here.

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City’s £2.5m centre ‘being built in the wrong place’

Posted on September 4, 2009. Filed under: News stories, Providers | Tags: |

Derby Telegraph | Derby City PCT | 4 September 2009

A £2.5M Derby health centre could be built in the wrong place, say worried councillors and neighbours.

The NHS centre, in Rowallan Way, Chellaston, would replace High Trees Health Centre, in Manor Road.

A company called Assura, which would oversee the project on behalf of the NHS, said the “cramped, outdated and no longer fit-for-purpose” High Trees needed replacing.

The completed new centre would be leased back to NHS Derby City, which oversees health care in Derby.

But councillors and community leaders say the new clinic would be more than a mile from the centre of Chellaston and would be difficult for older people to get to.

Chellaston Residents’ Association member John Bowden said: “We are not supportive of this.

“The main health centre at the moment is in the middle of Chellaston and I have measured the distance to the proposed new one, which is a mile-and-a-half away.

“To get to it by car you would need to cut through parts of a new estate and the bus service only comes once every 20 minutes.

“If NHS Derby City are going to progress with this then we are going to have to make sure the people of Chellaston know about it.”

His views were echoed by Chellaston city councillor Philip Ingall, who said: “To me, closing the health centre in the middle of Chellaston is fundamentally wrong.

“I think it is a dreadful shame the doctors’ surgery is going to move out.

“I have no doubt this application will be pushed through but we have an ageing population in Chellaston and I would like to see a satellite office remain in the centre of the village.”

Assura has already developed 16 apartments and six shops at the site and has permission for a care home, with building due to start before the end of the year.

GPs, nurses and other healthcare professionals from High Trees would move to the new centre. There would also be a pharmacy.

Another surgery run by the same group of doctors, the Melbourne Health Centre, would remain open.

Amanda Horley, development manager at Assura, said: “We have worked in close partnership with the doctors, NHS Derby City and Derby City Council to reach this stage and are confident that, if approved, the new facility would prove a valuable asset to the local community.”

A spokesman for NHS Derby City said it was still early days for the proposed new centre and a number of details had to be worked through.

He said: “We welcome the development of new premises that support the delivery of medical services in the future.

“Regarding the location of the health centre, this is obviously restricted by the availability of land in the centre of Chellaston.”

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Popular new GP-led health centre proves a hit with patients

Posted on September 2, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, Press/News Releases, Providers | Tags: |

Assura website | Press Releases | Coventry tPCT | 2 September 2009

gr_patientandgp_l

The newly opened Coventry NHS Healthcare and Walk-in Centre on Stoney Stanton Road has proved extremely popular with local people after treating and registering a far higher number of patients than expected.

Since opening on April 1st, the Centre has treated 23,000 patients at an average of 1,000 patients per week, with over two thirds of walk-in patients being seen by a clinician within one hour.

In addition, over 540 patients have now registered with the Centre, which is testament to its popularity of the Centre’s convenient central location and extended opening hours, allowing patients to access local health services at a time convenient to them.

Patients are also enjoying the speed of access and the manner in which staff respond to all types of emergencies. One lady wrote to thank all the staff for the swift action taken when she brought her son to the Centre. He was quickly assessed as needing urgent hospital treatment and he is now on the way to a full recovery after five days in hospital. “The service you provide is invaluable and could have saved my son’s life. Thank you so much,” she wrote.

Coventry NHS Healthcare and Walk-in Centre is open from 8am to 10pm 365 days a year, with or without an appointment. It is operated by Assura Coventry LLP, a partnership with nine local GP practices and Coventry Community Health Partnerships (CCHS), the community services directorate of NHS Coventry (Coventry Teaching Primary Care Trust).

The Centre is designed to provide full GP services and longer opening hours as part of NHS Coventry’s plan to provide more choice and greater access to family doctors.

Patients can use the Centre while remaining registered with their current doctor. It is in addition to and complements the existing local GP surgeries.

Dr Ian MacDonald, chair of Assura Coventry LLP, said: “We are pleased that the local community is taking advantage of the new Centre and that we are providing a valuable service in helping people get access easily and quickly to a GP or clinician as appropriate.

“The promptness of the service is excellent without compromising quality of care. As a Walk-in Centre, where no appointment or registration is needed, we are also having some success with the hard to reach groups in need of medical care.”

Coventry NHS Healthcare and Walk-in Centre was opened as part of the Government’s £250 million nationwide funding package to improve access to GP services for patients across the country. This funding will provide an extra 2.5 million appointments across the country per year.

Coventry NHS Healthcare and Walk-in Centre
Stoney Stanton Road
Coventry CV1 4FH
Tel: 0300 200 0060
Web: http://www.coventrynhshealthcentre.nhs.uk/

Opening Times
8am to 10pm Monday to Sunday
(Open bank holidays and weekends)

ENDS

Press enquiries regarding Assura Group to:

Andrew McKeon, AJM Public Relations.
Tel: 01423 734 560; Mobile: 07802 484 155

Louise Bathersby, Assura Group.
Tel: 020 7107 3830

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Freshney Green set to open

Posted on August 24, 2009. Filed under: Press/News Releases, Providers | Tags: , |

North East Lincolnshire Care Trust Plus | News | 24 August 2009

The latest development as part of North East Lincolnshire CTP’s Estate’s Strategy, Freshney Green Primary Care Centre, opens its doors to patients on Monday 7th September.  

Three local GP practices, Field House Medical Centre, the Littlefield Practice and the Woodford Medical Centre, will move into the new £14m health centre and will provide improved and extended services to patients. 

A wide range of services will be available under one roof, including dental services, a new mental health unit, a pharmacy, minor surgery and community health and social care services.  The centre will also include a café run by Jobs4All, offering work opportunities to adults with learning disabilities.  

Dr Derek Hopper from Fieldhouse Medical Centre said:“All three practices will still be offering the same family doctor services and will remain as separate practices but will work together for the benefit of patients.  Patients can be reassured that they will see the same doctors and nurses, just from new and improved premises and they will continue to be registered with their current practice.   

“The centre will be a focus for service development and education.  The centre has been approved as an advanced training practice, the only one in the area, and will offer multi-disciplinary training opportunities.  It will help to attract high quality new staff to the area”  

Jane Lewington, Chief Executive of North East Lincolnshire CTP said: “The centre will offer a greater number of services under one roof.  It is the eighth development to be completed as part of the CTP’s Estate’s Strategy which has beensuccessful in transforming the provision of primary care services in NE Lincolnshire.    

“Freshney Green is unique in a number of ways. It has been designed to give careful consideration to its carbon footprint with the inclusion of solar panels and rain water collectors.  It represents a high level of quality throughout the design, materials and delivery of the project. It is also the first of our primary care centre to provide new surgery accommodation for a local dental practice. This has been made possible by the commitment of everyone involved following long and detailed negotiation, and careful project planning and design to deliver state of the art facilities for NHS patients.”  

The address of the new centre is:  

Freshney Green Primary Care Centre
Sorrel Road (formerly Central Parade)
Grimsby
DN34 4GB 

The three practices will have new telephone numbers as a result of the move as follows:  

Fieldhouse Medical Centre             Tel No: 01472 254600
Littlefield                                              Tel No: 01472 246100
Woodford Medical Centre                Tel No: 01472 372100 

The centre has been developed and funded by Assura, a leading health provider organisation and primary care investor along with development partner LSP Developments. 

Amanda Horley, regional development manager at Assura said: 
“Together with LSP Developments we are delighted to have completed this state of the art facility and provide a high quality building. It will make a significant contribution to improving healthcare facilities locally, as well a being an important part of the overall regeneration of the area. 

“ Assura is also providing an integrated pharmacy service which, in addition to the store being physically located close to the surgeries, means working closely with local GPs to meet the individual needs of our patients.

” The co-location of the new pharmacy will mean that patients will be able to have their prescriptions completed before they leave the Centre.  The store will also offer a free prescription collection and delivery service, dropping off medicines to a home or work address within the local area.  The store also has 2 private consultation rooms where Assura pharmacists will be happy to discuss any health concerns with patients.

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Integrated Care Organisations

Posted on August 3, 2009. Filed under: Integrated care, Press/News Releases, Providers | Tags: |

Assura | Cambridgeshire PCT | accessed on 3 August 2009

Assura is working with groups of GPs across the country to develop new models of healthcare provision and organisation by working in partnership with other NHS bodies, such as local hospitals and PCT community services. The name for these partnerships is Integrated Care Organisations (ICOs).

Cambridgeshire ICO

In Cambridgeshire, Assura Cambridge has formed an ICO with Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Cambridgeshire Community Services to improve end of life care for over 170,000 patients.


The Cambridgeshire ICO proposal was one of only 16 projects across the country that were appointed by the Department of Health as ICO pilots and will aim to support more patients in their own homes and to shift resources from the hospital budgets to fund additional primary and community services.


Over the next two years, the three organisations will work together to identify the particular needs of dying patients in the community and find ways for different services and organisations to work together to enable people to be cared for and die in the place they choose.


The Department of Health will help the ICO pilot by giving the partnership funding to take part in the programme and by providing support when problems that need fixing are identified.

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Hampshire Health – Local GPs set to win super-surgery contract

Posted on June 8, 2009. Filed under: LIFT, News stories | Tags: , , |

Basingstoke Gazette | NHS Hampshire | Wednesday 27th May 2009

A SUPER-SURGERY offering GP and dental service to unregistered patients 365 days a year is set to open in Basingstoke.

The new Hampshire Health Care Centre in the grounds of Basingstoke hospital, scheduled to open this autumn, is being commissioned to increase out-of-hours access and it will open from 8am to 8pm seven days a week.

Health chiefs also hope to relieve pressure from the accident and emergency department by treating minor illnesses and injuries.

Hampshire Health – a team of 13 North Hampshire GP practices – has joined with a private healthcare firm Assura and Basingstoke dentist Dr Anushika Sharma to run the new centre.

Dr Christian Chilcott, a board member of Hampshire Health and partner from Oakley and Overton Surgery, said the doctors came together to make the bid so the new surgery could be run by locally based GPs.

He said: “This way we could ensure continuity of care for our patients and that their interests are put first.”

The value of the contract they will sign with NHS Hampshire was not disclosed because of “commercial confidentiality”.

Helen Clanchy, director of primary care for NHS Hampshire, said: “We are very pleased to announce plans for these services with Hampshire Health and Dr Sharma, who have each shown that they will provide a high quality service.”

Patients will still be able to see their regular GP and dentist even if they use the new centre.

It will also house a raft of other services, including vaccinations and immunisations, contraceptive services, cervical screening, maternity medical services, minor surgery and stop smoking services.

Under reforms led by health minister Lord Ara Darzi, each NHS primary healthcare trust (PCT) has to have one super-surgery.

NHS Hampshire, the commissioning branch of Hampshire PCT, chose Basingstoke because of the number of people commuting to and from the town.

It was thought that they would benefit most from a service open 12 hours a day, seven days a week, although the service is open to anyone.

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Health Minister officially opens new 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week GP-led service

Posted on April 20, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, Press/News Releases, Providers | Tags: |

Assura | Press Release | NHS Bath and North East Somerset (NHS B&NES) | 20 April 2009

Minister of State for Health, Ben Bradshaw MP has officially opened the Bath NHS Healthcare Centre on James Street West, central Bath, which is the first of 10 new GP-led health centres to be provided by Assura’s GP Provider Companies (GPCos).

 
The Minister was joined by Dr Andrew Smith, GP and chair of Assura Minerva and Malcolm Hanney, chair of NHS Bath and North East Somerset (NHS B&NES), as well as staff as he officially opened the new service.


Speaking at the event, Ben Bradshaw MP congratulated the Centre for being the first in the region to open.


He said: “We were getting feedback from the public who, having seen improvements with waiting times, wanted to see a difference in primary care. After three weeks, to see such a big increase in footfall shows that the demand is there.


“We know a lot of people go to A&E on weekends when GP surgeries are usually closed. Now they have a GP service to go to, it will help take the pressure off A&E.”


Bath NHS Healthcare Centre is one of three new GP-led health centres run by Assura GPCos to welcome its first patients this month. It was opened as a result of contracts awarded in the national Equitable Access to Primary Medical Care services (EAPMC) procurement programme.


The schemes are part of the government’s £250 million nationwide funding package to improve access to GP services for patients across the country. This funding will provide an extra 2.5 million appointments across the country per year.


Located at the existing Riverside Health Centre, Bath NHS Healthcare Centre is open from 8am to 8pm, 365 days a year and is operated by Assura Minerva LLP in partnership with Bath and North East Somerset (BANES) Health and Social Care Services and BANES Emergency Medical Services.


The service has quickly proved popular with patients, with higher than expected demand for walk-in treatments since opening. Patients can visit the Centre with or without an appointment and do not have to be registered to be seen.


The aim of the service is to provide local people with greater choice and increased rapid access to treatment which doesn’t require A&E attendance, which will help to alleviate pressure on the Royal United Hospital’s A&E department.


It is in addition to and complements existing GP surgeries and all services that were previously available at the Riverside Health Centre continue to operate. These include the Riverside GP Surgery, emergency dental services, contraceptive and sexual health services. The nurse led walk-in centre has been incorporated into the new GP-led service.


Some of the services now on offer include blood pressure checks, contraceptive advice, health promotion, minor cuts and wound management, muscle and joint injury attention and help with stomach and skin complaints.


Commenting on the official opening, Dr Andrew Smith, a Bath GP and chairman of Assura Minerva said: “We are delighted to welcome the Minister to open the new Bath NHS Healthcare Centre, and meet the staff who have worked so hard to start this new service.


“It’s still early days but numbers are up 26% on what they were previously. People are voting with their feet. The people working in the Centre are the people to thank today; they have done a fantastic job in getting the Centre open and the new service started.”


Malcolm Hanney, chair of NHS B&NES, said: “Open from 8 in the morning to 8 in the evening is giving patients greater access to GP services. I am very pleased that the 27 BANES practices in partnership with Assura, a leading healthcare provider, won the open tender process.”


Coventry NHS Healthcare and Walk-in Centre (Assura Coventry LLP) and Stockton NHS Healthcare Centre opened earlier this month (Assura Stockton LLP). The remaining seven schemes awarded to Assura’s GPCos will be rolled out during the remainder of 2009, with the next GPCo due to open in Hartlepool in May.


ENDS


Press enquiries regarding Assura Group to:


Andrew McKeon, AJM Public Relations.
Tel: 01423 734 560; Mobile: 07802 484 155


Louise Bathersby, Assura Group.
Tel: 020 7107 3830

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New medical centre moves step closer for people of Wellingborough

Posted on April 17, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, LIFT, Press/News Releases, Providers | Tags: |

Proposed Isebrook Primary Care Centre

 

Plans for a new £5.75m medical centre, to be built on the site of the former Isebrook Hospital in Irthlingborough Road, Wellingborough, have moved a step closer after planning approval was granted by Wellingborough Borough Council.

Isebrook Primary Care Centre, as it is likely to be known, will be provided by Assura, one of the UK’s leading investors in primary care centres, along with architects Hunter and Partners.

The new facility will accommodate thirteen GPs from the three practices currently based at the cramped and outdated Gold Street Medical Centre, namely Dr Inns and Partners; Dr Datta and Partner; and Dr Patel and Partner.

Each of the practices had previously expressed an interest in relocating to Isebrook as part of the second wave LIFT project for Northamptonshire, but the need for better facilities and the investment of Assura has meant that development can take place sooner.

PCT services as well as expanded education and training facilities for GPs are also expected to be provided from the new primary care centre, alongside additional services such as minor surgery and spirometry testing, which are traditionally only available at the local hospital.

Commenting on the planning approval, Simon Gould, development manager of Assura, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded planning consent to take this project forward. The new primary care centre will provide modern, spacious accommodation especially designed for local GP practices which are currently in inadequate premises.”

Dr Johnny McMahon, GP Partner at the Dr inns and Partners, said: “The three Wellingborough practices are delighted to be relocating to the purpose built facility on the local hospital site.

“We believe that this will have a significant and positive impact on the care of our patients and on the health of the local community.”

Building work will commence in April, with the new building expected to be completed by July 2010.

ENDS

Press enquiries regarding Assura Group to:

Louise Bathersby, Assura Group.
Tel: 020 7107 3830

Russell Elliott, Assura Group.
Tel: 020 7107 3833

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Planned new health centre set to benefit 5,000 patients in Chesterfield

Posted on April 17, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, Press/News Releases, Providers | Tags: |

Assura News Release | 10 February 2009 

 

gr_stubbingsrd_lPlans for a £3.5m state-of-the-art primary care centre on Stubbing Road in Chesterfield have moved a step closer after planning approval was granted by Chesterfield Borough Council.


Assura, one of the UK’s leading investors in primary care centres, will provide this exciting new community project along with development partner LSP Developments and architects West Hart Partnership, on behalf of the Holywell Medical Practice and Derbyshire County Primary Care Trust (PCT).


The brand new 1600 sq m Stubbings Road Medical Centre will enable the Holywell Medical Group to increase and enhance its current comprehensive medical service and high level of patient care, provided by a range of highly qualified and experienced GPs and healthcare professionals, while maintaining medical provision from Holywell House in the town centre.


Services already on offer, such as phlebotomy, pregnancy and child development, minor surgery and counselling will be increased.


Additional services such as a minor injury service and increased minor operations from a purpose built suite will also be available alongside a number of community-based initiatives such as substance and alcohol abuse. Mental health workers as well as a community matron will also be on hand.


The co-location of general practice services alongside those provided by social services and the PCT such as midwifery and importantly, dentistry, will be of huge benefit to the patients, providing choice while saving time and improving convenience.


In addition, an on site pharmacy will further add to convenience as patients will be able to pick up their prescriptions immediately after consultation with their clinician.


Commenting on the granting of planning approval, Amanda Horley, development manager of Assura, said: “We are delighted that we have been given the green light to take this project forward.


“The proposed new health facility would provide modern spacious accommodation especially designed for local GPs. We believe that it will quickly become an asset to the local community.”


Dr Meredith, a GP from the Holywell Medical Group, added: “We are delighted to be able to offer high quality health care right in the heart of a local community where the need is greatest. This is the fruition of many years hard work and demonstrates Holywell Medical Group’s commitment to health provision in the Chesterfield area.


“We will be able to offer a range of services to our patients that will be second to none and these services will be on their doorstep often meaning a trip to the hospital will not be required. In many cases we will be the ‘one stop shop’ for our patients. We look forward to welcoming both new and existing patients.”


Ed Sutton, Managing Director of LSP Developments, said: “The project is testament to strong partnership formed between all of the stakeholders, enabling this important community project to be brought to fruition, despite the uncertain economic climate.


“The project is envisaged to start on site in spring 2008 with completion expected by early 2010.”


ENDS

 

Press enquiries regarding Assura Group to:


Louise Bathersby, Assura Group.
Tel: 020 7107 3830


Russell Elliott, Assura Group.
Tel: 020 7107 3833

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