The Middlewood Partnership, which has brought together four local GP surgeries to deliver more joined-up and effective care for patients, continues to go from strength to strength, as local MP, David Rutley, saw on a recent visit, alongside two of the practice’s GP partners, Dr Paul Bowen and Dr David Ward.
The Partnership was formed in 2019, with the merger of McIlvride and Priorslegh surgeries in Poynton, Disley’s Schoolhouse Surgery, and Bollington Medical Centre. By implementing this collaborative model to providing healthcare, it means that all four practices can work more efficiently at scale, make quicker decisions, and operate in a more integrated way, to the benefit of the 33,000 patients that they serve in north east Cheshire.
Dr Bowen, Middlewood Medical Director, and Dr Ward, Care Community Medical Lead, explained that the key to the Partnership’s success is its innovative use of a single digital point of access when patients get in touch. This allows the Partnership to more quickly review, prioritise and allocate all enquiries to the most appropriate member of the team, or to the integrated community and social care team, across the four surgeries. It also means that more care services can be provided ‘in house’, within the Partnership.
The benefits of this approach became particularly apparent during the pandemic, when, in spite of the significant pressures this unprecedented situation placed on the health service and general practice, in particular, the Partnership continued to provide a high standard of service and care to local patients. David saw this for himself when he visited the Partnership during the pandemic and spoke with staff working there.
As we move out of the pandemic, Dr Bowen, Dr Ward, and the Partnership team are focussing on sharing the knowledge, experiences and best practice they have gained with colleagues across the local and regional health service. They have published information on the Partnership website (https://middlewoodpartnership.co.uk/how-we-redefined-general-practice/) and its Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/middlewoodSK), to support this.
As well as working more collaboratively with other health services, the Partnership has strengthened the positive relationships it has built with other community and civic groups in the area, including Poynton Town Council, where it works closely with the local community co-ordinator, Sharon Duke. Dr Bowen is also well-respected and known across the community, having served as Chair of the East Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group.
Speaking after the meeting, David said, “It’s clear that the integrated model of care that the Middlewood Partnership has implemented is delivering positive benefits for patients, so they can get the support they need from the right part of the local health service, more quickly. The whole team are now rightly keen to share what they have learned across the wider health service. This integrated approach with strong local partnerships can make a real difference as we move beyond the pandemic and I hope that others will be able to learn lessons from Middlewood’s successes locally.”