At our last Forum meeting, we were pleased t welcome Michelle Kay from Healthwatch. Michelle wanted to let us know about proposed changes to our local health provision as it has been announced that the Albion Street Surgery will be merging with the St Peters Medical Trust, and that there are plans to close Albion Street and move patient care to the newly built St Peters Medical Practice on Oxford Street (built on the old Oxford Court Carpark site).
For information on this from the Medical Practice click HERE
Healthwatch have been worried that these plans have not been fully communicated to patients or to the community at large, and Michelles presentation to the Forum is copied below.
Introducing myself as Michelle Kay from Healthwatch Brighton and Hove. Healthwatch listens to patient experiences of the health and social care services. We ensure that people’s voices are heard by commissioners and providers to enable change. I’m here to talk about the merger between Albion Street Surgery & St Peter’s Medical Centre.
Healthwatch were contacted by a patient of Albion Street in July 2021. On visiting the surgery for an appointment, they had been told that their surgery was merging with St Peter’s. They were concerned because they had not received any written notification of this, and they were unsure what this would mean regarding accessing appointments in the future.
Healthwatch therefore contacted the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and offered to support them in consulting patients. The CCG are responsible for commissioning (paying for) local health services including GP practices. We were told that practices had already communicated with patients, but the Clinical Commissioning Group welcomed our support with any further engagement.
Through communication with the Clinical Commissioning Group, we came to understand that the merger is in two phases:
Phase I: The first phase has happened already: On 1st October, Albion Street Surgery merged with St Peter’s Medical Centre to become one organisation.
Phase II: The second phase is due to take place in two years’ time. A bigger development is currently being built on the St Peter’s Medical Centre site and when that is finished (due 2023) the building at Albion Street Surgery will close. This surgery will then be physically housed in the same bigger development on the St Peter’s Medical Centre site.
To date we have heard from several patients that they have not been communicated with clearly about the merger in general, and it seems most patients we have spoken to are unaware of Phase II.
As Healthwatch it is our role to listen to your views and to enable conversation. We would be interested in hearing from more patients – the details of how to get in contact with us are below. With similar circumstances, we have enabled conversations to take place between the Clinical commissioning group, the surgeries, and patients. We have also gathered views from patients through surveys. By presenting reports to providers and those who make decisions, we can make recommendations about how services are carried out for example, ensuring enough staff are available to manage larger patient numbers because of a merger like this one.
Thank you to those who attended the meeting and provided comments. It is interesting to hear that some people were unaware of the merger, even though it is their surgery being merged. Going forward, it is over to you as patients and councillors to take this forward.
Healthwatch are able to support any initiative that you wish to go ahead with and I encourage you to get in touch with us on the following:
Contact name: Michelle Kay
If emailing, please mark your subject header with “Albion Street merger” so that it can be directed to me.
Telephone: 01273 234 040
If calling, please leave a message on this phone and it will be picked up within 48 hours.