Questions and Answers
The CCG is reviewing a proposal for Hextable Surgery to become a branch surgery of Cedars Surgery in Swanley, when the two GPs at Hextable Surgery retire later this year.
We have been asking for patients’ views about this and have received a number of responses from patients and stakeholders.
In order to ensure that we share as much information as possible with everyone who has contacted us so far, this Questions and Answers document has been produced to provide more information in response to the most frequently asked questions.
Comments are invited by 7 August 2020, so that feedback can be analysed and presented to the CCG’s Primary Care Commissioning Committee for a decision on 20 August 2020.
Q: What other options have you considered for the future of Hextable?
A: The CCG has considered a number of options for the future of Hextable Surgery but currently a merger with Cedars Surgery is the preferred way forward.
The CCG does not believe the other options are viable or in the best interests of patients.
Other options considered were: to close Hextable Surgery and disperse patients to other nearby practices; to recruit new GPs to run the practice; or to procure a new provider of GP services to take the practice on.
We have held discussions throughout with the Patient Participation Group for Hextable Surgery for some time and they are supportive of the proposal we now have. Find out more about what a Patient Participation Group does.
Q: Why can’t you recruit two new GPs to run the practice or a new provider to take it over?
A: There have been long-standing challenges in recruiting and retaining GPs; Kent and Medway face the same challenges as other areas across the country.
Many GPs prefer to work in larger practices which offer enhanced opportunities for learning and career development.
Hextable Surgery currently has a relatively small registered list of about 4,000 patients; the national average patient list size for a surgery is 8,500. Smaller practice list sizes are usually unattractive for new primary care providers.
Q: If Cedars Surgery takes on Hextable Surgery, won’t this just create an added pressure on Cedars Surgery? How will they cope with the extra demand for appointments and services?
A: The CCG is working closely with Cedars Surgery to ensure that the practice is able to provide adequate primary care services to patients from both Cedars and Hextable Surgeries.
Cedars Surgery is committed to improving services and bringing in additional staff to support delivery of care to the combined population.
A: The proposal will allow services to be run from both Cedars and Hextable surgeries; No reduction in the services available to patients is planned.
Q: How many days will Hextable Surgery be open and how many GPs will there be each day? Will I have to go to Cedars instead of Hextable?
A: Patients will be able to see a GP or any other healthcare professional from either Cedars or Hextable surgeries. The plan is to continue to run clinical sessions from both sites on Monday to Friday between 8am and 6.30pm.
Q: How has this proposal been communicated to patients?
A: The practices have sent out text messages or app notifications to all registered patients who have provided a mobile phone number to inform them of the proposals and invite their feedback.
Details of the proposal are available on the practice websites and the CCG website and posters are on display in the surgeries. The CCG has informed key stakeholders, such as local councillors and the parish council, and has promoted the proposal through its social media.
Q: How will we be informed of the decision the CCG makes on 20 August? Will a letter be sent to all patients?
A: Details of the decision will be posted on the CCG and practice websites as soon as possible afterwards. Stakeholders such as councillors and patients who are part of the CCG’s Health Network will be informed via email and the CCG will also use its social media channels to communicate the decision.
Information will be made available in the two GP practices. Patients will be informed when they make contact with their practice for a medical need.
Q: What will I need to do if this proposal is agreed and goes ahead?
A: Most patients currently registered at Hextable Surgery also fall within the Cedars Surgery catchment boundary and their care will automatically transfer to the Cedars Surgery list.
This means they could receive GP services at Cedars Surgery or at the Hextable Surgery. They could also request to register with another practice in whose practice boundary they live if they prefer to do so.
Approximately 16% of the patients registered at Hextable Surgery fall outside of the Cedars Surgery boundary. They will be allocated to another practice near to where they live, however they do of course still have the right to register at an alternative practice of their choice, if they fall within that practice’s catchment area.
Q: Can I still book an appointment, and how do I request my prescriptions?
A: If you need a GP appointment, repeat prescriptions, or test results, please telephone your practice as usual. If you need to see a GP, staff will be able to book you an appointment at your usual surgery. All patients will continue to access primary medical care services.