We have been working with two GP practices in north and west Guildford to ensure they can continue to provide GP services for the future.
The GP practices
Guildowns Group Practice is a large training practice that provides GP services from four different sites:
- Stoughton Road Surgery, Stoughton Road, GU1 1LL
- The Oaks Surgery, Applegarth Avenue, GU2 8LZ
- University Medical Centre, University of Surrey, GU2 7XH
- Wodeland Avenue Surgery, Wodeland Avenue, GU2 4YP
Woodbridge Hill Surgery operates out of a single surgery located on Deerbarn Road in Guildford.
Both GP practices are independent businesses that have a contract with NHS Surrey Heartlands for the provision of GP services to their registered lists of patients.
Why change is needed
- Meeting future needs
- The recent Fuller Stocktake report contains a series of recommendations to address challenges across the primary care sector. Providing fit-for-purpose buildings for neighbourhood teams of health and care professionals to work more closely together and enabling teams to focus on community engagement and outreach are two of these recommendations reflected in our proposals.
- What is happening elsewhere?
- GP practices in different parts of the country now host a wide range of additional health and care professionals, such as physiotherapists, paramedics, pharmacists, and social prescribers, who work alongside GPs and nurses to provide more comprehensive, all-round care and support.
- Evidence shows this is better for patients living longer with multiple health conditions. Guildowns and Woodbridge Hill are unable to include these additional roles, that would enhance care, due to limitations in their buildings.
- Current space
- The current space occupied by the two GP practices offers limited opportunity to work in new neighbourhood teams. The services for Guildowns Group Practice are spaced across north and west Guildford, making it challenging for clinical teams to deliver high quality care.
- There is not enough space to provide additional services, develop their workforce or adopt new ways of working.
- Health inequalities
- Health outcomes for people in Guildford differ depending upon where people live. Local GP services can play a critical role in helping people stay well for longer through proactive care and earlier interventions, but this is proving difficult for these practices.
- Stoughton, Stoke and Westborough are amongst the most deprived wards in Surrey: life expectancy is significantly lower for men and for women compared with other wards in Guildford.
- Registered patients
- Both practices are over-capacity – in other words, they have more patients registered than their current space can manage, based on NHS England planning guidance.
- Some of the buildings cannot be accessed by patients in wheelchairs, children in pushchairs or people with sensory disabilities.
- Future population growth
- Large housing developments are planned nearby that will compound the current situation. There needs to be room for people moving into the area to register with a GP practice.
- Training, recruiting, and keeping staff
- Both GP practices experience problems in attracting and keeping qualified and support staff. The dispersed nature of one practice across four sites and the lack of facilities for training in both practices are known factors that affect the morale of existing staff and the ability of them to attract and keep sought-after highly qualified professionals.