Our journey

Prior to the formation of the Middlewood Partnership, the four GP practices located in Bollington, Disley and Poynton worked as independent practices.

All the practices were facing extremely challenging times but things were particularly tough for the two smaller practices.

From 2015, the practices had increasingly started to work in a ‘loose’, collaborative arrangement recognising the benefits of sharing good practice, working at scale, skills and experience.

This informal collaboration helped us recognise that that only by fully merging would we be able to realise all the potential benefits of working at scale. We recognised that our strength would be to come together as one partnership, giving us the breadth of staff, funding and leadership to create a really stable, sustainable organisation.

Our strong principles of delivering high-quality care, having mutual respect, and shared values have helped develop a bold and ambitious shared vision as we brought our four practices together.

We recognised that our new partnership wasn’t about doing things the way we’d always done them. Instead, we made a commitment to transforming the way we organised our services. We wanted to improve the accessibility, quality and safety of the care we provide, alongside the wider need to integrate care with other care and health providers.

 

We took an approach that involved:

Cultural transformation

  • Recognising the importance of strong clinical leadership, staff engagement and a culture of change and improvement.
  • Ensuring that the way we do things is in line with our shared values, being respectful of each others’ perspectives and maintaining staff health and wellbeing during these significant changes.

System transformation

  • Using the merger to seek out the most innovative ways to change our practices; deliver our services; create and develop our workforce – both clinical and non-clinical.
  • Redesigning our clinical services and looking at how we better deliver care in a more integrated, sustainable way.

 

Technical transformation 

  • Ensuring we have the right policies, processes and legal and financial arrangements to support our new organisation and ways of working.
  • Redesigning our estates to reflect our vision for service delivery.
  • Supporting our staff to change both how they work and the roles they undertake with the support of robust HR processes.

 

Benefits of the merger include:

  • Services being better coordinated and integrated to benefit patients. Examples of this are women’s health, long term conditions clinics
  • Greater opportunities for our workforce to both personally and professionally develop. We now have a truly integrated multi-disciplinary team, more varied clinical job plans and new roles including clinical specialist roles, complaints manager, HR leads, finance roles, IG lead, health and safety roles.
  • A more sustainable, resilient workforce. For example, we now have physician associates, advanced clinical practitioners and clinical pharmacists, secretaries, and administrators sharing the workload.
  • Providing a better work-life balance for our workforce. We can better manage absence and sickness and reduced our overtime commitments
  • Developing a workforce that has the skills and experience to meet the needs of the more complex and complicated patients that are now cared for in General Practice.
    Establishment of long-term condition clinics with longer appointment times.
  • Efficiencies from working at scale. We now have a GP and nurse rota covering all four practice bases and have reduced our locum requirements significantly.
  • The establishment of a Primary Care Network has been better able to work with our community and social care and voluntary sector colleagues to enhance and integrate the care and support we can provide to our patients. This has included the establishment of a shared visiting service.
  • Introduction of innovative ways of working including a digital clinical triage system