Practice update - your questions answered
Early in September we posted a notice seeking your views and questions about a proposal to change how the practice is run by asking you to complete a survey. We have now collected all the survery reponses and would like to answer some of the questions raised, which are presented in this post.
Who is the Islington GP Federation and how are they run?
Islington GP Federation is a company owned by GP practices across Islington to protect the best of general practice. It was created to ensure Islington residents get free and equal access to good, safe and effective primary care, both now and well into the future. Its talented clinical and operational teams share a passion for improving local health and social care; and in 2018 it won the national NHS Healthier Communities Care Award.
The organisation is wholly-owned by Islington GP practices, including City Road Medical Centre, and was formed in such a way that its shares can only be owned by Islington GPs and cannot be sold. Any financial surplus from its activities is invested directly into Islington health and care provision. The company’s Board is made up of six elected Islington clinicians, two Islington residents as lay representatives and its Chief Executive. It represents the interests of its Islington GP shareholders and their patients and sets the direction for the company and its management team. Islington GP Federation’s Executive Management Team comprises two Islington GP partners, a GP Medical Director and its Chief Operating Officer. This team is led by the Chief Executive, who reports directly to the Board, whose current Chair is a GP partner in south Islington.
Islington’s GP Federation provides a wide range of services to Islington patients and support to Islington GP practices. It works in partnership with all of Islington’s main health and care providers and supports the development of health and care improvement across the borough. What it offers includes:
- I:HUB providing access to GPs and nurses in weekday evenings and through each weekend
- Community services including Islington’s Ear, Nose and Throat and Gynaecology services
- Support services for severe mentally-ill and frail and elderly patients
- Workforce training across all Islington health teams
- Support for Islington’s new Primary Care Networks, where GP practices work together to improve patient care
- Throughout the pandemic the federation ran COVID vaccination clinics throughout the borough, including events at the Finsbury Park Mosque and Emirates Stadium.
Islington GP Federation also provides support, IT and training to all Islington GP practices to reflect the express needs of Islington practices and their patients. This includes, for instance, the development of a talented team of over 30 pharmacists who now work in each Islington practices and releasing precious time for GPs to spend more time with their patients.
Islington GP Federation is registered on Companies House as The Islington GP Group Limited.
Executive Management Team
Chief Executive Mike Clowes: Islington resident for 20 years and joined the organisation in 2015. Before that he spent many years helping organisations to adapt to change and new technology, including the BBC and Ministry of Justice. Mike has a passion to protect and improve on what is already good, through collaboration and partnership.
Chief Operating Officer Toni Orloff: Born, raised and lives in north London. Previously designed apprenticeship programs in health and social care, and was Program Director of a Bioresource centre in S India for 4 years. Toni is driven by a passion to support and develop people.
Clinical & technology Lead Dr Bengi Beyzade: Bengi is a GP partner at Clerkenwell Medical Practice, created and runs Islington’s Ear, Nose and Throat community service, and I:HUB was his brainchild. Born, raised and living in north London Bengi as spent his whole career in Islington.
Medical Director Dr Philippa Matthews: Phil is an Islington-based GP and also works as Islington’s Sexual Health Clinical Lead. She has developed and delivered health and care training including most recently to support GPs to provide care throughout the pandemic. Phil has brought her family up in north London.
Board Chair Dr Ben Smith: Ben is a GP partner at Killick Street Health Centre in King’s Cross and is in his second 2-year term as Chair. Ben runs a very successful practice in Islington and has always had additional roles in Islington because of his passion for collaboration and service improvement.
You can find more information about this organisation at https://www.islingtongpfederation.org
Will I get the same level of service that we currently do?
The aim is to maintain and improve the level of service we provide to our patient population. There are no plans to make changes to staff or clinicians working at the practice. The practice will provide the same services in line with the needs of local patients and residents. Islington GP Federation provides a broad range of services across Islington at the moment and we hope that their safe, effective and responsive approach to providing services, will help City Road Medical Centre continue to develop more services in the local area.
Why is this happening now?
There are ongoing significant problems with recruitment and retention of staff of all grades in General Practice at the moment. This started a long time before the Covid-19 pandemic. There has also been a year-on-year reduction in the number of practice nurses recruited to General Practice and this has been significant in Islington since 2015. Through working as part of a larger organisation with the Islington GP Federation, City Road Medical Centre will benefit from a more resilient work force, as there is a bigger staff pool to call upon and provide cross-cover in the event of staff sickness.
The Islington GP Federation also has a track record of experience in providing staff training and education and is host to the Islington Training Hub.
It will therefore be able to support the practice with better training opportunities which will help to support staff and provide them with the skills they need to do their jobs. We hope this will make working at City Road Medical Centre a very attractive place to work, as it will provide better training prospects and better opportunities to progress.
The existing partners have tried to attract other partners to the practice for a number of years without success. This is not a new problem, as many of our original patients registered in 1999 will remember, there had been problems over the previous 2 years trying to recruit permanent Drs to the area. Dr O’Riordan and Dr Sauvage have tried to merge the practice with other neighbouring practices for a number of years. However, this has not been possible as no other neighbouring practice has had the capacity to do this with us. We firmly believe that novating the contract to an organisation owned by the majority of practices in Islington, will keep the services local.
The Islington GP Federation is also a key partner working with other local health and care providers, including Whittington Health, UCLH, London Borough of Islington and Camden & Islington Mental Health Trust. The Islington GP Federation is an active member of the North Central London Integrated Care System and already supports GP services in the area through running the Community ENT service and the extended access surgeries throughout the borough.
The contract is therefore moving to an organisation that is permanently embedded within our NHS family in the local area and governed by a board of GPs who can only work in member practices across Islington.
How will the way services are delivered be determined?
Services at City Road Medical Centre will always be set and delivered through contracts held by the NHS statutory body, according to national priorities determined by Department of Health & Social Care. Many contracts are also determined at a London Regional level or within the North Central London Integrated Care System, to ensure we respond to local priorities. This will ensure that the full range of GP services will still be delivered. Importantly, the practice will continue to ensure we improve access to appointments, do regular health checks, care for long term conditions and work with other professionals across health & social care to ensure that care is coordinated. We will continue to offer space for other professionals to provide services locally, just as we do now. It is hoped that working with the Federation and the wider Primary Care Network, a fuller range of GP services can be maintained, such as the Community ENT service, and a wider range of diagnostic services, such as blood tests.
We will work with other providers to ensure that as much as possible is delivered close to people’s homes at the practice, recognising that other providers may be required to relocate services, for reasons of staffing or access to equipment and this may not always be within our control.
Above all, we will continue to have a regular Patient and Public Participation Groups and the same rules and regulations will apply to the management of complaints and suggestions as with any other service. We will continue being inspected on a regular basis by the Care Quality Commission.
Keeping all of this local, with an organisation whose membership is made up of most of Islington’s GPs and their practices, is considered a positive step in ensuring that services remain focussed on what our local residents need.
How will services be funded and how will we ensure they continue to be run locally?
Services will continue to be funded through NHS contracts just as they are now. Funds will be used to pay for services, to pay staff and in the maintenance of the estate and infrastructure, such as telephones & computers. The ethos of City Road Medical Centre and the Islington GP Federation is to transfer any profit into patient benefit, and it is for this reason that this model of care was chosen. The financial allocation coming to the practice will be used to run services and to pay for staff supporting our registered list in the same way as it is now. It cannot be used to cross-subsidise other services.
Novating the contract into the Islington GP Federation, an organisation owned and run by most of the GP practices in Islington, will ensure the contract continues to be run by Islington Practices. Therefore people who are committed to providing services to the local population. As a key partner within the North Central London Integrated Care System, the Islington GP Federation is a key member of the wider partnership working across the borough and is focused on delivering the best services for our residents together. The organisation already brings a proven track record of success in the delivery of the Covid-19 service for supporting people live safely at home with Covid-19, as well as the successful immunisation campaign run from various pop-up sites across the borough.
We firmly believe that working with local partners in this way will be the best way to ensure we continue to develop services sensitive and responsive to local needs and ensure that NHS resources are spent on local residents.
Will this practice become a privately run practice?
City Road Medical Centre will not become a private practice as a result of this contract novation. Services will continue to be delivered free at the point of need.
Will the proposed plans to move the practice to a larger site in the Bunhill Ward still go ahead?
Yes, we are still in discussions with Islington Council regarding the proposal to move the practice to a larger, purpose-premises on Central Street and Islington GP Federation are keen for this to continue and we all recognise that the practice is now too small for our growing patient population.
We remain very open and responsive to hearing your views and would be happy for you to contact our practice manager, Cathrine Holmes, any time if you’d like to discuss things further. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any further questions or comments.
City Road Medical Centre would like to seek your views and questions about a proposal to change how the practice is run. Dr Josephine Sauvage and Dr Philly O’Riordan have made the difficult decision to resign as contract holders, but they will remain at the practice as salaried GPs. The proposal is to transfer this contract to Islington GP Group Ltd (trading as Islington GP Federation), who will then run the practice. The important thing you need to know as a patient is that the care you receive will stay the same. You will still be able to see the same health care professionals e.g. doctors, nurses, pharmacists etc, we will be open for the same hours and the appointment booking system will continue as it is with a mixture of telephone calls, online consultations and face to face appointment etc. This change will not occur until we seek your views and the request is approved at the North Central London (NCL) Primary Care Commissioning Committee Meeting in October 2021.
How will it affect patients?
We will continue to put the patients at the heart of everything that we do. We will continue to offer the same high standard of care and in time we hope to improve our services further with the support of the Islington GP Federation.
- All the clinicians, reception staff and administrators will remain at the practice to support you
- We will continue to provide the same level of GP access and opening times
- The practice boundary will stay the same
- The practice will continue to deliver care at the practice on the City Road.
- We will continue to provide a range of appointment types provided by our GPs, practice nurses, pharmacists, physician associates and health care assistants
- We will continue to offer the core GP services, as well as specialist services such as coil fittings, joint injections and long-term condition reviews
- We will continue to be a training practice and teach future GPs and clinicians
- In time, with the experience and resources that Islington GP Federation have, we hope to expand our practice offer and develop new services to maximise patient care.
Why are we doing this?
We have been looking at ways that we can ensure the long-term stability of the practice. We believe that with the support of the GP federation we will be able to continue to provide a high level of patient-centred care for our patient population going forward.
What is the Islington GP Federation?
Islington GP Federation is an organisation that is jointly owned by GP practices in Islington, including the City Road practice. It is focused on providing high quality care for patients in Islington. It already runs some services in Islington that you may be familiar with, including the I:HUB extended access GP service, the community Ear Nose and Throat service and the community gynaecology service. It supports Islington’s GP Covid vaccination centres and runs a local practice at Barnsbury Medical Centre, off Caledonian Road. It works closely with the Council, voluntary sector and our local hospitals.
Islington GP Federation is not a money making organisation. Any profits are put back directly into improvements to healthcare in Islington.
You can find more information about this organisation at https://www.islingtongpfederation.org
We hope this information has reassured you that this proposal will be beneficial for City Road Medical Centre’s patients and staff. However, if you have any further questions, then we are happy to help you.
We have a dedicated phone number that patients can call until 30th September 2021:
Phone number 020 3995 9896
Times available: Mondays and Wednesdays 10:00-12:00
Tuesdays and Thursdays 16:00-18:00
We will be holding a virtual Patient Participation Group meeting on Tuesday 14th September at 17:30. If you are interested in attending this, then please call the number above for more information.
Dr Jo Sauvage and Dr Philly O’Riordan
GP Partners, City Road Medical Centre