*Update* We are being told that people have received multiple copies of a letter updating them about changes at Alston Practice. Our intention was for one copy to be sent to each household. This clearly hasn’t happened and the NHS is now querying why this hasn’t happened with the mailing provider. We’d like to apologise for this inconvenience.

 

A more sustainable future for Alston Medical Practice has been secured.

Cumbria Health on Call (CHoC) will be taking over the management responsibilities from Tuesday 1st March 2022.

Patients shouldn’t see any changes. The Alston GP Dr Claire Corlett and the wider team will continue with appointments at the Practice or online or on the telephone as they are currently.

Dr Claire Corlett said: “It has been a very challenging time for the team here, we all want to see a bright and sustainable future for our practice here in Alston, and we are delighted to be working with CHoC to allow this.

“There won’t be any big changes to the team here that you see. Myself and Tania, our practice manager, are still going to be working here, and our fantastic wider team will still continue to look after you and be your usual point of contact.

“The input of CHoC will mean we will have much more support and a more robust team to draw upon and you may see some new faces too.”

As well as delivering Cumbria’s out of hours GP services, CHoC has been running the practice at Glenridding for several years, and recently taken on the Windermere and Bowness Practice at Goodly Dale.

Susan Blakemore, chief executive of CHoC, said: “We are delighted to join together with the practice team at Alston.  We see this as an opportunity to work in partnership with the practice team to continue to provide the community with outstanding primary care services.  The challenges of rural general practice are close to our heart as a provider of primary care services across Cumbria.”

Alston isn’t alone in struggling to replace a GP Partner when they retire, many practices in Cumbria and across of the UK find similar challenges. There are a growing number of models being developed and delivered to sustain primary care services. This model will support clinicians to join without the pressure of investing or taking on significant management responsibilities.

Is my practice closing down?

No. As you will be aware the Practice has struggled to recruit a new Partner GP (as have many practices across the UK) and wants to preserve services so is working with Cumbria Health on Call which will provide both management support and help strengthen the clinical workforce.

Will I have to travel out of Alston for my appointments?

No. The practice isn’t changing you will still be offered appointments over the phone, online and in the practice as you are now.

Will the team I see now change?

No. You will still see Dr Corlett and the wider team, and you may see some new faces too. You may have seen Dr Wrigley already, she is a CHoC doctor who has already been seeing patients here.

Will I still get my medication from the practice?

Yes, you can continue to use the dispensary or community pharmacy as you have always done.

What if I want to move to another practice?

You still have the option to choose to move to another practice if you want. You can find more information here: https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/gps/how-to-register-with-a-gp-surgery/

We understand that most people will want to access primary care services in Alston and this is why we have worked hard to find a way of supporting our services here.

Will the services on offer change?

Not in the short term, longer term they may be the possibility of offering more services if different type of clinicians are able to link into the surgery. You may have already seen Dr Wrigley, she is a CHoC doctor who has already been seeing patients here. Other clinicians may become regulars too.

I know Cumbria Health on Call (CHoC) run the out of hour GP services for Cumbria but do they know about running a GP practice?

CHOC has been running the practice at Glenridding for several years, and recently taken on the Windermere and Bowness Practice at Goodly Dale. The team are very supportive and understanding of the challenges of delivering primary care services in remote, rural communities.