Avenue Medical Practice to become part of JHP
Note: This page was updated on 16th and 28th February and 1st March 2023 to include new frequently asked questions. This page was updated on 9th March to reflect the end of the official engagement process.
To all patients of Avenue Medical Practice and Jesmond Health Partnership:
Avenue Medical Practice and Jesmond Health Partnership are applying for a full merger in order to ensure that both practices are secure and can continue to provide a high-quality service to our local community into the future.
The information on this page will be sent to all patients at both practices (via a text message link) as the start of a four-week engagement programme in which patients can ask questions and share their views.
The engagement programme will run from 8th February to 8th March 2023. Beyond that date, patients can still share their views with us, but they will be too late to be included in the overall merger application.
Paper copies of the merger letter, frequently asked questions and patient feedback form will also be available in the Reception areas at all three practice sites.
We will regularly update patients on the proposed merger, new responses to FAQs and anything else that comes up from patient and stakeholder feedback.
Jump to: The Proposed Merger | FAQs | Patient Feedback | Drop-in Events | Avenue Website
The Proposed Merger
Under the proposed merger, the JHP Partners will take over the Avenue GP contract from Newcastle GP Services (NGPS) and will be responsible for continuing to run services from all sites.
The demands and pressures on GP practices are increasing and we need to change and adapt to meet these needs. Having two practices working as one will help us achieve this. Both practices have a history of providing high-quality care to similar patient populations. We feel it is the right moment to seize the opportunity to build and expand on our successes by combining our efforts.
Business as usual
We intend to continue providing medical services from all sites in the future. There is no plan to change opening hours at any site. In the future, we expect to review the way patients contact both practices and hope in time to simplify this to a single telephone system with adequate capacity to ensure patients can appropriately contact the combined practice.
We do understand that a change in doctor provision may be of concern to some of our patients, but we would like to reassure you that we will recruit additional permanent staff in the coming months to ensure the practices continue to provide a high-quality service. The aim will be to consolidate our current ways of working to ensure we have a sustainable model for the future.
Over the coming months we will identify areas across both practices that could be improved to benefit our patients and ensure a consistent service. We will provide updates on any significant changes and let you know when they are to take place. We will work closely with our practice patient groups to ensure that any changes meet the needs of all our patients.
What are the benefits?
- More choice for our patients
In the longer term, we hope to offer patients a choice to attend any of our sites. This hopefully will make it easier for you to select a time and location which best suits you.
- More GPs and nurses available to our patients
Our GP and nursing teams all have specialist interests and additional skills. Working together will enable us to offer a wider service to our patients. While for now it will be ‘business as usual’, over time the two practices working closely together will increase the availability of GPs and nurses across all practice sites.
- A more sustainable practice
The average size of GP practices has risen steadily in recent years. By coming together as a larger practice, we can share resources, benefit from economies of scale, be more resilient and hopefully work towards expanding the services we provide. This will include integrating our clinical and IT systems.
Listening to patients
The practices will undertake 4 weeks of communication and engagement with local stakeholders from 8th February to 8th March 2023.
The practices will be offering an opportunity for patients to feedback on the proposal and ask any questions. All patients are welcome to attend our schedule drop-in events on:
- Saturday 25th February from 11.30 am to 3.00 pm
- Tuesday 28th February, from 6.00 pm to 9.00 pm.
Both drop-ins will take place at Jesmond Library, St George’s Terrace, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 2DL.
A link to this article will be sent via text messages to all patients at Jesmond Health Partnership with a mobile number on their records.
We will also display any further updates in reception areas and on our websites at avenuemedicalpractice.co.uk and jesmondhealthpartnership.co.uk. We would be grateful if you could raise any concerns using one of these options rather than booking appointments with the doctors or nurses to discuss the merger.
A Frequently Asked Questions section follows, which you may find helpful. This information will be updated regularly.
Alternatively, if you would like to discuss this with an independent organisation, you may wish to contact Healthwatch Newcastle, who listens to, advises, and speaks up for users of health and social care services. They can be contacted on 0191 338 5720 or at email@example.com.
We hope this information is helpful. We would like to take this opportunity to reassure all our patients that the proposed merger will ensure that high-quality medical services continue to be provided for local people into the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
These FAQs have been updated on 1st March 2023 to cover questions asked by patients. The newest response will appear at the top of this list.
This means key information such as management of health conditions, medications, allergies and when reviews are due will be available to the whole team and your care will continue as normal.
The purpose of the merger is solely to provide a long-term solution to make sure that GP services in Jesmond are sustainable and offer people the quick access and high-quality, personalised, and friendly service they want.
As well as appointments at the practice, there is also the Enhanced Access service that operates at 200 Osborne Road at weekends and weekday evenings, and our Same Day Access service, also at Number 200, where our team of Advanced Practitioners assess and treat people with acute needs.
In fact, we believe Avenue’s smaller catchment area to be entirely within JHP’s larger boundaries, meaning all existing patients who live in Avenue’s catchment area will continue to be within the boundaries of the combined practice.
The final boundaries will be subject to NHS approval, but patients can check by entering their current postcode into the JHP boundary checker.
As covered elsewhere in these FAQs, if patients have a strong preference about where their appointments are held, we will do our best to accommodate that request.
That said, as part of a bigger practices with more consulting rooms and a larger clinical team, there may be better options for being seen quickly.
However, there are factors such as urgency and clinic schedules that might affect this. For example, if you need to be seen urgently, you may be able to be seen quicker at one site than another.
After the merger, with a combined patient population of around 16,200, our ratio of full-time equivalent GPs to patients will be around 1 GP per 2,000 patients.
JHP has recruited additional GPs to ensure there is provision once the merger takes place.
Our Primary Care Network also play an important part in giving patients quick access to primary care services. Clinical Pharmacists provide structured reviews of medication and long-term conditions, and Advanced Practitioners provide home visits and same day appointments for acute issues. The network-wide Enhanced Access service also allows people to access GP services at evenings and weekends.
JHP’s ethos has always been patient-focused, with our friendly and experienced team prioritising getting patients to the right person to help them as soon as possible.
Also, depending on your specific need, you may not need to see a GP at all. Our Primary Care Network team provide an extra tier of specialist services, including medication reviews, home visits and same-day access for acute issues. This, in turn, frees up GP capacity for where continuity of care is needed.
A real positive of becoming a larger practice is the depth of experience and breadth of expertise in a larger staff team.
Because Avenue uses a different clinical system to JHP, there is extra work to do to make sure the systems and, crucially, patient records, can be integrated.
Once this work is complete, we will be able to begin work on unifying all other aspects of the two practices. We will continue to update patients throughout this process.
As you may know, following the previous Partner’s retirement, Avenue has been receiving significant support from Newcastle GP Services (NGPS). This was not intended to be a long-term solution as it is not sustainable for NGPS to be providing so much support to one practice.
Therefore, an agreement has been reached for Avenue Medical Practice to become part of Jesmond Health Partnership.
Given the practices’ proximity (barely 200 metres between buildings), increased collaboration through our Primary Care Network, and similar patient populations, this merger was the logical solution to provide GP services that can meet patients’ current and future needs.
However, we are aware of the work involved in combining all working aspects of two separate practices and will take an incremental approach that prioritises continuity of service for all patients.
In 2020, Jesmond Health Partnership successfully deployed a new appointment model using the AskMyGP system, and we would envisage rolling this out across the larger practice population.
Being larger may allow us to develop new services and enable us to manage the demand for appointments across both practices more effectively.
However, you could be offered an appointment at any site if this was more convenient or suitable for you. We will update patients regarding any new services in due course.
Staff teams change naturally over time, and as the need arises, we will recruit new staff members who offer the best service to our whole patient population.
We aim to share resources across all sites, be more resilient to the challenges all practices face, and hopefully expand the services that we can provide.
However, patients are free to choose to register with another GP practice if they wish. By visiting nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-gp and entering your postcode, you can find other practices local to you.
Update: Our official engagement process ended on 8th March, in preparation for submitting our formal merger application. Patients are still welcome to share their views using any of the methods below. We will read and respond to any new queries, but they will be able to be included as part of our merger application to NHS England.
Patients of Avenue Medical Practice and Jesmond Health Partnership can share their views on the proposed merger by completing the form below.
Paper versions are available at all practice sites - at 5 Osborne Road (Avenue) or 17 or 200 Osborne Road (JHP).
All responses are anonymous and will not be used to identify patients. Please do not use these feedback methods for medical help or to raise individual issues.