Work to start on new Forfar practice

Academy Medical Centre.
Academy Medical Centre.

The merger of Academy Medical Centre and Ravenswood Surgery has taken a step closer as building alterations to Academy Medical Centre have now been approved.

The two Forfar practices are to merge and form a new practice called Chapelpark Healthcare Centre, delivering services from the current Academy Medical Centre practice.

Timescales for the building works is being agreed but it is anticipated that a merger date can be set in the very near future.

Speaking about the merger, Dr Andrew Thomson said: “Planning has been underway for this exciting merger for many months with lots of ‘behind the scenes’ preparation for our new practice.

“Following the merger we will become one of the largest practices in Scotland, but most excitingly we will be delivering a very different model of care to meet the needs of our practice population.

“Patients have been very helpful throughout the planning process sharing their thoughts about how services should look following the merger. People want to be treated as individuals and be able to manage any longer term health issues in partnership with healthcare staff who know them as well as being confident they can access support at times of more acute illness.

“To be able to meet these needs, we will have six small teams working within the practice, consisting of two GPs, practice nurses, health care assistants and a receptionist.

“Other staff such as community nurses will work very closely with the teams and we hope to make additional services available within the teams to support care as close to home as possible and reduce the numbers of people involved in someone’s care.

“Registered patients have been given the opportunity over recent months to state a preference for the team they would wish to be allocated to. Letters will be sent to all patients prior to the merger happening to confirm their team and share the date that the new practice will open.”

Gordon Snedden, a patient at Academy Medical Centre, welcomed the merger saying: “I have been a patient at this practice and its predecessors for over 40 years and have seen many changes over that time.

“Not all of these changes have been for the better and the inability to get an appointment within a reasonable timescale, to get through to the surgery on the telephone when it opens and the inability to have continuity of care are just three examples of problems the surgery has faced in the past.

“I am looking forward to the imminent changes at the practice. If the merger brings the improvements that are anticipated then this will be a huge step forward for the new Chapelpark Healthcare Centre and I hope that Ravenswood Surgery patients will also see this as a positive step.

“The new teams should be easier to contact, have a more personal relationship with their patients and make quicker appointments likely. I know how much hard work has gone into this project involving all staff at both surgeries, including the Patient Participation Group, and I believe that it will be a successful model that can then be followed by other practices within and outwith Angus.”

Should anyone have any suggestions or concerns, they should contact the practice manager of either practice or email forfarmerger.tayside@nhs.net