Consolidation of Service to Thomas Walker Centre

Following a robust process, the application made by TWWH to close their Westgate Surgery branch was reviewed by NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Integrated Care Board who have supported the branch closure application and plans to consolidate to one site.

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Consolidation of Service to Thomas Walker Centre

The Partners of Thomas Walker Westgate Healthcare (TWWH) are writing to share an update on the outcome of the application to close the Westgate Surgery branch site and consolidate all of our primary care services to the main Thomas Walker site at PE1 2QP. 

Following a robust process, the application made by TWWH to close their Westgate Surgery branch was reviewed by NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Integrated Care Board who have supported the branch closure application and plans to consolidate to one site. The Westgate Surgery site will now close during July 2024, with the exact date to be confirmed in due course. 

The team here at TWWH are committed to ensuring that consolidating services to one site will offer improved access for patients, including opportunities for more services across all clinical teams, better integration with community teams and improved access for vulnerable patients. You can continue to follow progress on our site consolidation web page.

Whilst we appreciate some patients may feel disappointed by this closure we would encourage all patients to read our Frequently Asked Questions document available on the website (link above) to understand the reasons for the decision and the benefits we believe this will bring for all our patients. If, for any reason, you want to change your GP practice, you will need to register as a new patient. You can find GP practices near you on the www.nhs.uk website. You will need to contact the GP practice you wish to be registered at directly. 

Patients can continue to access the surgery via the existing telephone number 01733 551008 or via the practice website.

The ICB will continue to support the Thomas Walker Practice throughout the transition and work alongside the Patient Participation Group and local patients to ensure a smooth transition to a single site surgery. 

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the practice using the feedback process on the website or visiting the surgery to fill a feedback form. 

Frequently Asked Questions

 What decision has been made? 

The Partners of Thomas Walker Westgate healthcare (TWWH) are writing to share an update on the outcome of the application to close the Westgate Surgery branch site and consolidate all of our primary care services to the main Thomas Walker site at PE1 2QP. 

Following a robust process, the application made by TWWH to close their Westgate Surgery branch was reviewed by NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Integrated Care Board (ICB) who have supported the branch closure application and the proposal to consolidate to one site. The Westgate Surgery site will now close during July 2024, with the exact date to be confirmed in due course. 

What will happen now that the ICB have agreed our proposal? 

The practice Partners will now work with our staff, patients and the ICB to put together a thorough plan which transitions services to the Thomas Walker site by the end date of the current contract in early July 2024. It is our plan to communicate all important dates and changes to patients at every step of the way. We will also continue to report our appointment achievements via our patient group (PPG) and update all patients via the PPG web page at least monthly.  

Patient feedback remains positive for the move to one site and we will continue to listen to patient feedback throughout this process so that we try to meet your expectations. Some of the key considerations from patients are highlighted in this document and we encourage patients to continue to feed back their views using our webpage. We would stress that your care as a patient of the TWW Healthcare team will continue to be our priority through this process. 

What does the closure of the branch site mean for me and my family? 

All patients will remain registered with TWWH and you will still be able to access healthcare from the Thomas Walker Site, PE1 2QP. The Practice remains committed to delivering health care services to all of our registered patients via telephone, face to face, video or online consultations. 

Will this reduce clinical capacity and will you have less GP’s working for the Practice? 

TWW healthcare can confirm that this will not have a detrimental effect on clinical capacity. It is our expectation, as detailed in the original Q&A below that it may increase capacity. It will also simplify many internal structures which will offer some benefits to patients with respect to improved response to clinical administration and digital requests. 

An immediate benefit of this process is that we have recruited an additional 2 GPs following an advert on NHS Jobs and in which both GPs had expressed a lack of desire to work across multiple sites. It is our expectation that we can attract good quality staff following this agreement and that in doing so we will improve continuity of care for patients. 

Will it be harder to get through on the telephone to book an appointment? 

All telephone calls have been answered at the TWW Healthcare site since 2021. 

In recent weeks we have trialled the use of ‘call-backs’ during busy periods to support patients. We are also reviewing the number of staff answering calls in the morning when it is busier (please see our newsletter on the website). A limiting factor to this is having to have 2 administration teams with 2 ‘desks’ to greet patients which increases cost and reduces capacity to support demand. 

Our changes to call-backs has had very positive reviews from patients and we have extended this process over the past month following discussion with your PPG members. We are also, in line with NHS England guidance, 

moving toward more digital access for routine appointments, medication requests and reviews and general nursing appointments where appropriate to the level of patient accessibility and need. Having one site for appointments streamlines all process for appointment bookings for all staff and allows us to consider moving to a more digital approach for on-line appointment bookings. 

Are there enough car parking spaces at Thomas Walker (TW) site? 

The Thomas Walker site was purpose built to support a population of up to 30,000 patients. We are some way short of this number of patients and with more modern approaches such as telephone based GP appointments and digital access we do not envisage car parking to be an issue for patients. However, through this process patients have requested that we review the number of disabled car parking spaces at the TW site, which we will do with our landlords. 

We are looking at several different options for flexible working to support staff groups and parking capacity, including disabled parking spaces (though a change to existing systems will need to be agreed with our landlord). 

Can I still collect my medications from the Boots chemist at Queensgate? 

All patients can choose where they receive their medications. As a guide, our systems show that 42% of patients collect medications from the Thomas Walker Pharmacy (not owned by this practice) whilst only 8% collect from the Boots store at Queensgate. 

I usually drop my prescription request to the Westgate branch, how can I request my usual medications? 

Most patients find the online prescription request service saves them time and allows them to manage medications more efficiently. Arrangements are already in place with local pharmacies for patients to order repeat medications and if you are unsure please ask a member of the reception team and they will support you to organise this process. Alternatively you can use our online digital process to order your repeats medications. 

Will I still see my usual GP, Nurse or Health Care Professional at the Thomas Walker site? 

All staff will be available in their usual working days within the Thomas Walker site. There are enough clinical rooms for the consolidation and the move will allow us to progress our digital plans to improve access for patients and support flexibility for our workforce. The change to the single site is already showing benefits for recruitment which will support continuity of care in our patients. 

Will I still be able to get a face to face appointment? 

The TWWH team are committed to offering the easiest and most appropriate access to appointments for all registered patients. This includes all appointment types for all clinical teams. Through consolidating to one site it is our expectation that all patients will be able to access the type of appointment they wish when making their booking, whether at the reception desk, by telephone or digitally. When speaking to a GP on the telephone the GP will always ask a patient to attend the practice should they feel that the clinical need requires a face to face appointment and in almost every case that appointment is made for that same day or at the convenience of the patient. 

Can I register with another provider if I choose to? 

Yes, you can contact the provider of choice directly should you wish to register with them. You can find providers by using the NHS App or the NHS find a GP service

How can I have my say as a patient? 

We have created a dedicated website page with all information.  

Alternatively, if you wish to speak to an independent organisation you can contact your local Healthwatch Team on 0330 355 1285 between the hours of 09:00 – 16:00 Monday to Thursday and 09:00 – 15:30 on Friday. Healthwatch is an independent organisation that supports people to have a say when decisions are made about their healthcare services. You can find more information on the Healthwatch website.