GPs from King Street Surgery, who take over the running of Putnoe Medical Centre next month, had their first opportunity to meet with Putnoe patients at two packed drop-in sessions on Tuesday evening.
Around 350 people came to the two one-hour sessions at Putnoe Heights Church. King Street GPs, Dr Vijay Nayar, Dr Peter Wilkinson and Dr Toni Munno, joined Dr Emmanuel Ochola from the Putnoe Practice and Carol Madden from Bedfordshire PCT on a panel for a question and answer session.
Dr Vijay Nayar stressed the importance of a smooth transition to the new team: “We know how much patients value continuity of care and the patients said how important this is during the PCT’s consultation. We will be listening carefully to the needs of our patients and will be working closely with the Patient Participation Group. Our new team builds on the strength of the current administrative and nursing staff and includes Dr Emmanuel Ochola and several of the other GPs currently working at Putnoe.”
One of those GPs, Dr Richard Collins, said the Putnoe Medical Centre has a bright and exciting future: “The PCT has made absolutely the right decision. The King Street practice is very highly regarded and there couldn’t have been a better choice for Putnoe.”
All the new GPs starting in July have been locally trained and are familiar with the needs of Bedford patients. Over time, additional staff will be recruited to join the new practice.
Over 80% of the patients who answered a questionnaire about the practice in January wanted to see extended opening hours at the practice. When a new walk-in service starts in December, it will be one of the first in the country offering 12 hour opening, seven days a week for both registered and unregistered patients. The patients’ top priority for a new service was phlebotomy (taking bloods) and this service will also be introduced in the coming months.
Another issue raised by the consultation was the appointment booking system and this will be another of the priorities for improvement when the new team takes over.
The current practice manager, Richard White, is also staying at the practice. He is currently putting together a new practice information leaflet for patients and will be updating the practice’s website.
Carol Madden, who led the process for the PCT to find a new team to run the practice, ended the meeting by thanking everyone for their patience and support: “I’d like to thank all who have given us their views. It has been invaluable in helping us make the right decision for Putnoe patients. I’m delighted that we’ve found not only the best practice, but also a local practice, to take over.”
For further information please contact the PCT press office on 01234 792188.
Notes to Editors
1. The contract to run Putnoe Medical Centre was put up for tender by Bedfordshire PCT when the previous partnership of three GPs decided to end their commitment on 31 March 2008. The contract will run from 1 July 2008.
2. King Street Surgery has been providing GP care to the population of Bedford, Kempston and the surrounding villages since before the start of the NHS. The current partners are: Dr Abitalib Khanbhai, Dr Peter Wilkinson, Dr Vijay Nayar, Dr Jacquelyn Farhoud, Dr Antonio Munno, Dr Annette Ochola-Kuiper and Mrs Ann Lewis.
3. Bedfordshire Primary Care Trust (PCT) was established on 1 October 2006 serving the areas previously covered by Bedford PCT and Bedfordshire Heartlands PCT. It serves an area with a population of 420,000 and manages an annual budget of more than £500 million.
4. PCTs are responsible for the quality of care provided by GPs, nurses, therapists, dentists, optometrists, pharmacists and other health professionals working in the community. They also have responsibility for initiatives aimed at preventing ill health including the Stop Smoking campaign, childhood immunisations and influenza vaccinations.