Orchard Practice and Maple Practice planned merge
Two GP practices in Dartford are planning to join forces and offer patients an improved service in the New Year.
Orchard Practice and Maple Practice plan to merge together to form a new GP practice from April 2022. By joining together, the new practice will be able to better support patients with a larger clinical team and hope to offer more services in the future. Patients are being asked for their views on the merger by taking part in an online survey, which is running until 22 October, and through a patient drop-in event between 1pm and 3pm on Thursday, 4 November at Orchard and Maple Practices. Patients will also have the chance to propose a new name for the practice, which will be based in the two existing premises within Dartford West Health Centre.
An application will then be made to NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) later this year. The CCG is the NHS body responsible for making sure patients have access to GP practice services.
Dr Julie Taylor, GP Partner at the Orchard Practice, said: “This is good news for patients and all our staff. Our two practices have worked closely together for some time, for instance delivering Covid-19 vaccinations. Together we have been able to introduce, over the past year, new services for patients, such as clinical pharmacists, physiotherapists, care coordinators and paramedics. By joining together, we hope we can offer more in the future.
“Doctors, nurses, healthcare support staff and other clinical staff will have access to a wider pool of clinical knowledge and expertise to draw upon and there will be more opportunities to specialise in specific clinical areas. We will be better able to cover planned or unplanned absences, reducing reliance on locum staff and the pressure on other staff.”
Should the application be successful, the new practice will start from 4 April 2022. Patients will not need to take any action and all staff will continue to be employed by the new practice.
Dr Farzana Shora, from Maple Practice, said: “We really want to hear from as many patients as possible. This new partnership is the perfect opportunity for patients to get involved in having a say about their healthcare. We are also really keen to see a new Patient Participation Group (PPG) set up. These are really useful partnerships and people can give as much as or as little of their time as they like to shape the future of their practice.”
Patients can sign up to the PPG when completing the survey or by contacting the practices.
1. Why are the practices merging?
General Practice is becoming increasingly complex and demands on practices are increasing. There is a shortage of GPs, nurses and other general practice staff nationally. Dr Shora is looking to retire and Joyce Willbye has announced her retirement. We have already been working together as practices through the PCN and the Covid vaccine clinics. We are in the same premises and our teams work well together. This is an opportune time for us to formalise our working arrangements by merging into one practice to increase resilience of the practices.
2. What will our surgery name be?
We need your help with this. We want a new name, rather than being called Maple and Orchard Practices. The partners are keen that staff and patients suggest some names and we will have a panel (made up of staff, partner and patient representatives from each practice) to decide on the new name for the practice. No ‘Boaty McBoatface’ please! If you have any suggestions, please share them.
3. Will any services offered by the practices stop or change?
No. The new practice will offer all of the same services that are currently offered. We will be looking to ensure patients have equal access to these services, no matter which practice they were previously registered with.
4. What difference will patients see?
Patients will still be speaking with and consulting with the same people, but there will be a bigger team that they can access. The number you call to access the surgery may change or we may be able to keep the same number. This is something we will explore with our telephony providers.
5. Will patients still be able to make an appointment with their usual doctor?
Yes. We know patients value continuity of care, so they will still have an opportunity to book with their preferred doctor. However, they will also have access to other doctors and nurses with different skills and abilities.
6. Will patients need to re-register to become a patient of the new surgery?
No, they will automatically transfer over.
7. How do I get involved?
You can join our new Patient Participation Group and have a voice in how the new practice is run. Details are in our Online survey by calling one of the practices.
Flu Vaccination Clinics
You may already be aware that flu vaccination deliveries to surgeries have been delayed by one to two weeks due to a shortage of lorry drivers.
Until we know when we are likely to get our delivery we will not be making any more booking for the flu clinics.
To everyone that already has an appointment, we will contact you nearer the time if we need to re-book the appointments.
We apologise for any inconvenience, but unfortunately this is a nationwide issue and beyond our control.
Getting in touch with us
We are aware there are significant problems getting through to us on the phone. We are sorry this is the case and would like to explain a little about why that is.
Many GP surgeries across the country are in a similar position. We understand how frustrating it can be for it to take longer than normal.
We would like to reassure you we are working hard to resolve the situation.
There are three things that are challenging us:
- There has been an unprecedented post-lockdown increase in demand. Part of this is because many of our patients have been managing health issues themselves rather than contacting their doctor over the last year and some hospital procedures and appointments have been necessarily delayed. As confidence in general is returning, patients are now quite rightly contacting us.
- We have been heavily involved in delivering the country’s largest ever vaccination campaign.
- We have had to change the way we work to keep things safe for our patients and our staff.
What can you do to help?
- Choose well – can the pharmacy help your symptoms? Call 111 if you are unsure which sort of treatment you need. You can also go online 111.nhs.uk
- Download the NHS app. You can use this to book and cancel appointments and order repeat prescriptions.
- Use our online consultation system, if you are able to.
- Cancel appointments you no longer need.
It’s useful to remember our teams are on the front line and see both the best and the worst of us all. They work incredibly hard to help patients navigate the system, but may not be able to offer you exactly what you want at all times.
Please be patient and courteous, they want to find the best solution as much as you do.
We are grateful for your understanding.
Covid-19 vaccination information
We are providing Covid-19 vaccinations at The Orchard Practice for our own patients and those from the following practices:
· Dartford East Health Centre (Dr Shimmins & Partners)
· Lowfield Medical Centre
· Maple Practice
There will be home visits for housebound patients. We are inviting patients based on the national priority list. Please be patient and wait to be contacted about when the vaccine is available for you.
You do not need to contact the surgery until you receive a text or phone call about getting the Covid-19 vaccine.
Our phone lines are very busy; please help us to keep lines open for people needing to make appointments for other health matters.
If you have questions about the vaccine please read the information below.
Should I come for a vaccine if I have symptoms of Covid-19?
No. If you or someone in your immediate household has symptoms of the virus it is essential that you self-isolate and book a test. Your vaccine can be re-arranged after your self-isolation.
If I’ve had Covid-19 do I need the vaccines?
Yes, getting vaccinated is just as important for those who have already had Covid-19 as it is for those who haven’t.
How soon after having Covid-19 can I have the vaccine?
It is recommended that people wait 4 weeks after recovering from Covid-19 or from being tested positive but not experiencing symptoms. We will rearrange invitations if you are in this situation when first invited to have the vaccine.
When will the second dose be given?
From 30 December the national guidance changed and second doses will now be scheduled for 10-12 weeks after the first dose.
Can I pay for the vaccines privately?
No, all Covid-19 vaccines are being provided free by the NHS. If you see any offers to get the vaccine privately it will be a scam and you must not contact them.
Find out more: For more information about the Covid-19 vaccination programme in Kent and Medway please visit www.kentandmedwayccg.nhs.uk/covid19vaccine
For serious symptoms that they cannot manage at home they should firstly use NHS 119 online (https://111.nhs.uk/). People should only call NHS 111 if they cannot use the online 111 tool.
Do not call the GP surgery unless you need to. The surgery phone lines are facing high demand. Please use the online 111 tools to try to self manage first or use eConsult which is an online automated consultation tool to provide tailored health advice and will allow you to book a telephone appointment with a doctor if it determines this is still necessary.
DO NOT attend the surgery for any reason unless you have been advised to.
For patients where self care measures have been exhausted or your symptoms are worsening or you have a significant health concern, please call the surgery. All appointments have been switched to telephone and only patients that really need to be seen face to face after being assessed on the phone by a clinician will be.
The practice will continue to have processes to ensure childhood immunisation and other essential care continues.
If you are seen at the surgery your clinician may need to wear gloves, gown and mask so do not be alarmed.
We will no longer be issuing printed prescriptions, and all prescriptions will be sent electronically to your pharmacy to limit/stop footfall to the surgery. If you have not been setup electronically with your pharmacist, you will be asked on the telephone for your nominated pharmacy so that your prescription can be sent electronically there.
NOTE: We cannot test for COVID 19.
CQC Inspection rated as GOOD
Following an Inspection in January 2019, CQC have published the report and rated us GOOD.
Please see the CQC website for the full report.
Prescriptions given by the Hospital
If you receive a prescription from the hospital, please get this dispensed at the hospital pharmacy, as we may not be able to prescribe it. This is due to the fact that some medications prescribed by the hospital are specialist only prescriptions.
Many more GP appointments now available in Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley
We are delighted to announce that from 1 October 2018, you can book to be seen by a GP, nurse and other health professionals until 8pm Monday to Friday, and at weekends and bank holidays.
This is part of a national drive to improve access to GP services and give people the opportunity to see health professionals at a time that suits them.
The appointments won’t always be at this surgery, but your notes will be available to the GP, nurse or other health professional, providing you give your consent.
To find out more, and book one of these appointments, please contact us and speak to the receptionist, who will help you see the right person for your needs.
We will offer the new appointments routinely but please tell us if you particularly need a Saturday, Sunday or evening slot. We will also tell you where the appointment will be
Please ring NHS 111 as usual if you need medical assistance when we are closed and it cannot wait until we reopen.
Electronic prescriptions at the The Orchard Practice
We can to send your prescriptions electronically for a more convenient way for you to get your prescription. You can choose where to get your medication from and it can be collected from a pharmacy near where you live work or shop.
It is vital that we have complete and up to date contact details on your records for this system to work.
Please ask for a form at Reception
The Practice can cater for patients who speak the following languages:
French, Arabic, Italian, Mandarin & Cantonese
These are not currently available due to the Covid vaccination roleout
Please remember that medical certificates are only issued by your doctor after the first 7 days of sickness. The first 7 days are self certification and you should collect the form from your employer. A private medical certificate costs £17.00
Help us to help you
You may not need to see a doctor if you have pain when passing urine or blood in your urine. Ask for a sample pot and a form at reception and a nurse will dip your urine for signs of infection. They will then decide on the best course of action which may be antibiotics or an appointment to see the doctor.
Emergency Dental Treatment
Doctors are no longer permitted to treat dental problems.
If you feel that you require antibiotics you should contact your own dentist or the out of hours service by ringing 111
Booking Doctors Appointments
We are not currently offering pre-booked appointments due to COVID restrictions. Please ring at 8:00am or 12:00 noon to book an appointment.
Please register for the NHS App to order repeat prescription. The link can be found at www.nhs.uk
PLEASE REMEMBER TO WAIT 72 HOURS (EXCLUDING WEEKENDS) BEFORE COLLECTING YOUR PRESCRIPTION
Lumps and Bumps
If you have any lumps that you would like to have removed, please make an appointment with Dr Saad for an assessment
All patients have a named GP who is responsible for their overall care at the Practice. Please ask at reception if you wish to know who you are registered with.
Did you know that West Hill Pharmacy and Moores Pharmacy both offer a Minor Ailment Scheme. You can visit the pharmacies with a range of conditions and get advice and treatment which will cost no more than a normal prescription and is free to those holding an exemption certificate.
Message to Female Patients
It is important that you attend for regular Cervical Smears. If you have received a letter inviting you to make an appointment, please do so as soon as possible. When we are open on a Saturday morning our Nurses are happy to do these then.
To avoid inappropriate use of Accident and Emergency please dial 111 who will advise you of the best action to take.
Please follow the link to 'Latest News' for important information about your medical records
The Orchard Practice
The Orchard Practice moved from a house in Dartford into a purpose-built Health Centre, along with three other practices in the early part of the 1980s, all using the ground floor of the building.
Wheelchair access to the building is through the main door.
A disabled patients' WC is provided alongside the waiting area and access to the first floor can be reached by a lift, just inside the main front door.
Our practice is a training/teaching practice. Our registrars are fully qualified and have a great deal of hospital experience. Registrars are attached to our practice for 12 months after which time they may remain in the practice as GP's. They are at all times encouraged to seek advice when required from the practice partners.
When booking an appointment you may be asked if you would consult with one of our registrars who are excellent doctors, appointed by the practice.
Our GP trainers are Dr King and Dr Taylor.
(Site updated 07/10/2021)