PATIENTS are being warned the Orchard Practice in Station Road, Hayes, will close if it is deemed not vital in an NHS contract review in November.
The practice operates under a ‘3+2 contract’ which started in November 2011, and the contract is up for review in November.
If the review is successful, it will be able to continue for the ‘+2’ years.
Patient feedback is crucial and will be presented to board members.
Douglas Parker, chairman of the Orchard patient participation group, says it could save the practice.
“Support us to persuade the NHS that we are worth keeping and that we need a new contract to serve the community better,” he urged. A simple survey asks patients if they are happy with how the practice operates and asks for any further comments.
Findings from the 2013-14 survey showed that 78% of all patient ratings of the Orchard Practice were good, very good or excellent.
Mr Parker, who has held his post for three years, is passionate about ensuring patients receive the best care.
He said: “It is called the participation group but I prefer to call it the Patients’ Support Group because you are supporting patients. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a support group.”
Mr Parker meets the board of directors monthly to communicate patient complaints or comments.
He then reports back to his committee, which is made up of 32 patients at the Orchard Practice. The rolw is important to ensure patients have a voice and that decisions by the board are closely monitored.
Mr Parker holds a ‘patients surgery’ every Monday and Wednesday morning at the Orchard, where people can discuss any concerns they might have.
A big issue faced by the practice is a financial loss caused by failed appointments. When a patient fails to attend a booked appointment, it costs £54.
Last year, £32,000 was lost in that way. “With that money we could have employed a new medic and improved our services,” said Mr Parker.
If the November review is unsuccessful and the service goes out to tender to the private sector, or merges with another practice, the 5,000 people on its register will be affected.
Mr Parker said: “We are not fighting the other practices - we just want to be as good or if not better.”
He speaks highly of the clinics and services provided at The Orchard. Some of the measures it has taken include employing staff who speak several languages, family planning, counselling and vaccines.
If you’d like to become a member of the participation group, or to see the findings of previous years’ surveys, visit www.theorchardpracticehayes.co.uk