Frequently Asked Questions
Berkhamsted Group Practice proposes to merge with Rothschild House Group on 1st July 2019. This will see Berkhamsted Group Practice become part of the Rothschild House Group, creating a surgery providing services to over 40,000 patients in Berkhamsted, Tring, Markyate and the surrounding villages.
Please see below details of our Frequently Asked Questions, which we last updated on 14th October 2019.
Who are Rothschild House Group?
Rothschild House Group is a large local surgery, with sites in Tring (Rothschild House Surgery and The New Surgery), Markyate and Pitstone. When the merger with Berkhamsted Group Practice is complete, the practice will look after 41,000 patients in these areas.
Why is the merger taking place?
The partners at Berkhamsted Group Practice have decided to merge with Rothschild House Group in order to improve services for patients. Rothschild House provides a patient-centred model for patient care, with continuity of care between patient and named doctor. The practice is recruiting additional GPs in order to increase the number of appointments available to patients.
When is the merger taking place?
The proposed date of the merger is 2020. We will update you nearer the time with a date.
What is happening about the move to Gossoms End?
Rothschild House are pressing ahead with the planned relocation from the Milton House site to Gossoms End. Our architect is currently producing a detailed costed plan that will allow us to submit a full business case for NHS funding for the scheme. We anticipate that the scheme should be completed by the end of 2020, but there is a still a lot of work to do. Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (HVCCG) is fully supportive of the relocation.
Where can I discuss the merger?
There have been four Patient Engagement events that have taken place.
if you would like to discuss anything further you can write to the practice.
Following the meeting held on 7th May 2019 and correspondence received, here is a summary of the questions raised to date.
Q How many GP sessions will be delivered?
In Berkhamsted, Dr Sacca and Dr Thomson joined in July 2019.
The combined surgery will offer 26 GPs, 152 sessions, 19 whole time equivalents.
Q Will I have to go to Tring for an appointment?
Only if you want to! Patients will have a named GP, who will be based at their local site, so patients in Berkhamsted will have a named GP based in Berkhamsted. We will be offering joint injections and minor surgery in both Tring and Berkhamsted.
Q Will you be moving straight into Gossoms End?
Not immediately – we still have to obtain approval for our business case and for the funding, as well as sourcing a contractor to undertake the conversion works.
Rothschild House is committed to the Gossoms End project and the obvious benefit to its patients of a purpose-built surgery to replace Milton House.
The relocation is likely to take place at the end of 2020. The service will continue to operate from the Boxwell Road and Milton House sites until then.
Q How long will it take for access to appointments to improve?
The number of GPs and therefore available appointments will increase from 1st July. Berkhamsted Group Practice has engaged additional locums during May and June to increase capacity. Please note that most of the doctors will be taking some annual leave during the summer holiday period in July and August and we will be using locum doctors until September.
Q Will you still undertake home visits?
Q Will you be undertaking home visits out of hours?
No – these will continue to be provided via 111.
Q Will you provide an out of hours service?
Both surgeries currently provide an Extended Hours service, which will continue. Many of the Rothschild House doctors also work at the new “Dacorum Extended Access” service, which operates one site at The New Surgery in Tring (weekday evenings and Saturdays and Sundays).
Q Will you be providing additional Reception staff?
We will be training staff in the Rothschild House procedures over the next two months and will bring some Rothschild House reception staff to Berkhamsted to assist in the transition.
Q Will it be easier to get through on the telephone?
The provision of additional appointments will mean that call times and therefore call waiting times should reduce, simply because it will be easier to book an appointment. The peak time is 8am in the morning and the training to receptionists and the additional appointments should reduce the demand and therefore the wait at this time.
Q What is happening about the car parking at Gossoms End?
There is car parking available at Gossoms End. Staff who are not essential car users will not use the car park at Gossoms End. Both Herts Valleys CCG and the local councils are aware of patients’ concerns about car parking at Gossoms End and will be discussing closer to the date of relocation.
Q Will the surgery rationalise its list to ensure no “ghost patients”
This is ongoing exercise for patients identified as living out of area or out of the country. We are aware of an isolated example of a patient who had emigrated and who then died, which we only became aware of years later, but in the overwhelming majority of cases, when a patient dies, we are informed and that patient is deducted from our practice list.
Q What other clinical roles will you introduce?
Both Rothschild House and Berkhamsted Group currently employ GPs, nurses, healthcare assistants, phlebotomists and clinical pharmacists. The government plans to introduce several new clinical roles to general practice over the next five years, which include first contact physiotherapists, who would see patients with musculo-skeletal conditions, without them necessarily having to see a GP first.
Q Will Reception staff be “triaging”?
We prefer to use the term “signposting”. Reception staff will ask patients simple questions so that they can find the appropriate appointment, for example, when a physiotherapist is available, a patient with back pain would be booked with the physiotherapist, rather than having to see a doctor first.
Q What is happening with the other surgeries in Berkhamsted?
The other surgeries in Berkhamsted, Gossoms End Surgery and The Manor Street Surgery, are independent. They are not involved in this merger and we have not discussed merging with them.
However, all the surgeries in Berkhamsted, Tring and Markyate are working together as part of a Primary Care Network to deliver additional services. The first contact physiotherapists mentioned above will work for the Primary Care Network and deliver services for all patients in our area, regardless of their registered surgery.
Q Will you be changing your computer system?
Not immediately – there is a planned network upgrade for the main Rothschild House site in Tring, which must be undertaken before any change of system.
Both Rothschild House Group and Berkhamsted Group Practice use the same clinical system, which makes any future merging of systems straightforward.
Q Will you be improving online access?
Patients can now use the new NHS app to access online services, such as booking an appointment, ordering a repeat prescription or looking at the results of blood tests online.
Q Will you be offering more appointments online, like nurse appointments?
The additional GP appointments from 1st July will be available to book online. We do not currently offer bookings for nurse appointments online, because of the wide range of services that a nurse can provide, and not all nurses can provide all services (for example, not all nurses can provide an asthma review). We will review this in future.
Interested in finding out some of the background to challenges facing GP surgeries?
Please click here to see the recent Panorama documentary.