Proposed Contract Merger
The 3 practices that form Valens Medical Partnership (Brockwell, Lintonville and Wellway Medical Groups) have asked to merge the practices into a single practice. This means they will operate under a single contract with NHS England.
Our aim is to create a long term Partnership to provide safe and effective care to our patients, families, carers and communities.
Background to the Proposal
Our practices already work together in Partnership to deliver joint services such as evening and weekend clinics. We believe this merger will best allow us to care for all our patients in the future.
Our application will be reviewed in early October and we expect a decision to be made mid-October.
Below is some further information on why we have made this decision and what the next steps are:
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why merge the practices?
The NHS is changing and NHS England is asking practices to work together across larger patient populations. We want to ensure that our patients continue to receive high quality medical care.
This merger will offer many benefits. The current practices use the same clinical system, and in merging, we will be able to access this through a single system and log in, which will make it easier for our GPs and nurses to view patient information. We are also able to bring together our management and support teams for more efficiency.
Bringing together our practices in this way means we can share our pool of knowledge and skills. Particularly as we know people often have many diseases and needs.
There is a national shortage of GPs and practice nurses, a merged practice will be better able to get the doctors and nurses we need. The workload of a current GP Practice has grown in recent years. We want to make sure that clinical time is spent in patient care not in paperwork.
Valens Medical Partnership is also now operating as a Primary Care Network working with key local partners. This is to provide an integrated care system for the benefit of our local communities. This means that we can provide more seamless, joined up patient care. We want to remove the barriers to accessing services and address current challenges.
Q. What will the new Practice be called?
The name of the merged Practice will be Valens Medical Partnership. Our surgeries will continue to be called by their names i.e. the Brockwell site, the Lintonville site, the Pegswood site.
Q. Will I be able to see my usual Doctor or Nurse?
Continuity of care is valued by both patients and doctors and nurses. Our healthcare teams will be based at their usual location. You will not have to travel to another surgery for routine care just as you do now. Where specialist clinics or hub services are available at our other practices, you will be able to access those in future.
Q. I have a long term health problem – how will this affect my care?
Every effort will be made to ensure that you continue to see your preferred clinicians for ongoing care. If you usually attend a clinic at a certain practice for diabetes, asthma etc. then this will continue as normal.
Q. Will there be any change to the service we receive from community services such as district nurses, midwives or health visitors?
The community teams will continue to work with all 3 practices as usual to provide care to patients.
Q. Will the new merged Practice have access to my medical records?
Yes, the three clinical records are being combined into one. If you go to another site, such as for a specialist clinic, your medical record will be available to the clinician seeing you.
Q. Will your Opening Hours Change?
Core opening hours at our main branches in Ashington, Cramlington and Morpeth will remain the same. Telephone lines are open for all patients from 8.00am until 6.00pm Monday to Friday. We are not planning to reduce our services or close any branches as a result of this merger. Like all other practices, we may vary some opening hours because of patient demand and clinical resources.
Q. Booking appointments – will I see any changes?
You will still be able to book an appointment by ringing your normal practice number or by using our website at www.valensmedical.co.uk.
We have a central navigation team who will help guide you to the most appropriate appointment for your needs.
We are keeping our appointment system under review due to Covid-19. We hope to be able to offer you some alternatives to same day access in future. For now, we continue to follow the national rules in having a telephone or online-first appointment system.
Q. My Medical Records – how will these be affected?
Our clinical system provider will merge the electronic records of all our patients. Whichever clinician manages your care, they will be able to access your records no matter which Practice you were members of.
Q. Prescriptions – how will these be affected?
With a shared computer system there should be no change to the current way in which you order or receive your prescriptions. If you order your prescriptions online then we may need to update your details. Further information will be given and we will contact you if this is the case.
Q. Patient Participation Group
We plan to form a new single patient participation group.
If you would like to find out more about the patient participation group or to get involved, please contact us at email@example.com
Q. What is the timescale envisaged for the merger?
We will submit a formal application to NHS England at the beginning of October. If we are successful then we would merge before the end of December 2020.
Keeping you Informed
We will post regular updates on our website, provide information posters in our surgeries and consult our patient participation groups. We will continue to keep this FAQ document updated on our website and in our practices.
We value your views and if you have any questions or comments, we’d like to hear from you:
Online: Please complete the online feedback form at www.valensmedical.co.uk/contract-merger
In Practices: Please ask our reception team for a feedback form. This can be filled out anonymously if you wish. You do not need to give us any personal information if you choose not to.
By Letter: Please write to us at your local practice address, and mark it for the attention of the Business Lead.
Thank you for your ongoing support
Valens Medical Partnership