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Three Telford GP surgeries to close under 'super-practice' plans

By Lisa O'Brien | Telford | Health | Published:

Telford & Wrekin’s first GP 'super-practice' has unveiled plans which will lead to the closure of three sites.

Despite the closures, the plans will lead to Teldoc being able to provide at least 60 extra clinical appointments a day for patients.

The practice, which has more than 45,000 registered patients, says it will also lead to improved access to services and investment in a new 'care navigation centre', as well as improved IT facilities.

Teldoc currently operates from nine sites.

The three smallest and least used, at Lightmoor, Highfield and Aqueduct, would close as part of the plans.

Dr Ian Chan

Partner Dr Ian Chan said: “We are planning for the future and we now want to share with our patients some of the exciting plans we have.

“As part of these plans we want to employ more clinical staff with a range of skills that would allow us to offer at least 60 more acute appointments per day, and we would also gain clinical space to enable us to better handle these appointments.

“We plan to open a new purpose-developed care navigation centre that would receive all our calls from patients and act as an admin hub.

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"This is urgently needed to handle the increasing number of calls we are receiving and to provide a quicker service – our current call centre is unfit for purpose and cannot handle calls for all our sites.”

Teldoc is already offering appointments seven days per week through the GP extended access scheme.

It also offers access to some services for patients registered with other Telford & Wrekin practices.

Dr Chan added: “We have seen a huge uptake of these type of appointments and they are popular with all patient age groups.

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"We want to be able to improve this service further.”

Teldoc is running a six-week patient engagement to seek their views.

A survey, lasting until August 16, is available online and is being posted to patients’ homes.

It will also be available in all practices.

Teldoc was created in 2017 by bringing together Lawley Medical Practice, Oakengates Medical Practice and Trinity Healthcare.

The survey is available at teldoc.org/news/site-reconfiguration-and-improving-patie

GP practices to close are ‘smallest’

The three GP practices earmarked for closure under the plans offer the lowest number of patient appointments, according to Dr Chan.

Speaking about the proposed closure of the Lightmoor, Highfield and Aqueduct sites, he said: “Between them these sites only have six rooms in which patients can be seen, and our proposals would see an extra eight rooms provided at our other sites, giving us more clinical spaces overall, and improved access for patients.

"Lightmoor and Highfield are also only open for limited periods, have very little car parking and only offer limited services due to their very small size.

“They are not fit for modern needs and require constant maintenance which is an investment we would rather spend on patient services.

“Aqueduct is open for five days per week, but with limited access for patients.

“It also houses our current call centre but is inadequate for this role, cannot handle the volume of calls we get, and offers a poor standard of accommodation for our staff.”

Improve

Dr Chan added: “We have looked carefully at the implications for patients who need to access services. In each case the site that would close is near to sites we would improve and they are served by the same public transport routes.”

The other Teldoc sites are at Lawley, where two extra clinical rooms are proposed; Malinslee, where there would be three extra rooms and Madeley, where another three extra rooms are planned.

It also has sites in Leegomery, Oakengates and Hadley. Bosses say Teldoc, Telford & Wrekin’s first ‘super-practice’, formed over two years ago with the intention to provide an improved quality of care to its patients, through improved access and patient experience.

Working with its patient participation group, Teldoc says it has considered how it could make improvements both to the telephone access as well as face-to-face appointments with clinicians.

A statement on its website says: “We recognise that for some people the closure of sites may cause concern, however we want to reassure people that we believe that the overall proposals will deliver improved access to care.”

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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