Merger – Sollershott Surgery and Birchwood Surgery, Letchworth Garden City

We are pleased to announce that, from 1st April 2024, Sollershott Surgery and Birchwood Surgery in Letchworth Garden City will be merging to work as one GP Practice.

The new joint Practice will be called The Birchwood and Sollershott Surgeries.

Both surgery sites will remain open.

Why are we merging?

12PointCare have been delivering patient services at Sollershott Surgery since July 2018 under a time-limited NHS contract which means it is subject to open tender from alternative providers of Primary Care services around every five years.  This contract has reached the end of its current period.

At the same time, since October 2018, 12PointCare have been delivering Enhanced Access Services at Sollershott Surgery – enhanced access means weekday evenings and Saturday routine appointments. These have been for our patients and those of neighbouring North Hertfordshire GP practices.

Since December 2022, 12PointCare have also been delivering patient services at Birchwood Surgery in Letchworth under a long-term NHS contract.  This contract is not time-limited and has no defined end date.

The merger can happen now following agreement with Herts and West Essex Integrated Care Board (HWEICB) – the NHS organisation that plans and oversees how NHS money is spent in our area – and NHS England (NHSE).

We are delighted that HWEICB has now afforded us this opportunity to merge Sollershott Surgery into Birchwood Surgery’s long-term NHS contract.  It means 12PointCare can continue running Sollershott Surgery and the Enhanced Access Service in the same way, alongside the larger Birchwood Surgery; this provides greater stability for patients in our community and our dedicated teams of clinical and administrative staff.

Most importantly, the delivery of existing primary health care services at each practice has been secured and the long-term nature of the single NHS contract means we can further strengthen and develop our patient services over time.

What will this merger mean for you as a patient?

Our patients will not need to take any action as a result of this administrative NHS Contract change.

The merger of our two practices is exciting and gives us stability for the future.  This helps us better respond to the ever-changing landscape of primary care. In reality, there will be little change for patients on a day-to-day basis.

With both practices already working closely together, we believe that the merger will be beneficial for patients.  We will have a wider range of health professionals to support patients and be more resilient to changes in the health care needs of our local community.

We will be working hard over the next few months to ensure as smooth a transition as possible.  There will be some minor, short-term disruption as both GP practices will be closed on the afternoon of Tuesday, 9th April 2024 to allow the computer systems to be merged.  In advance of this, we’ll tell you what to do if you need access to urgent medical care on the afternoon of the clinical system merge.

Will you still be able to see your usual healthcare professional?

We expect that the vast majority of patients will attend their usual surgery site and be able to see a GP, nurse, healthcare assistant, pharmacist or other healthcare professional in the same way they do now.

Whilst you will continue to receive primary healthcare at your usual surgery, you will have the choice to go to an appointment at either surgery, as appropriate, providing you with more flexibility.  Other than this more flexible and improved access, we do not anticipate this change to affect the services available to you at either of the GP practices.

Will there be any new services on offer?

We have different health professionals at both practices so it may be the case that we offer, for example, contraceptive coil fitting or minor surgery more widely to more patients.

In the future, we may also further develop new specialist services (e.g. physiotherapy or mental health services) and might sometimes offer these from one of the two surgery sites.

To keep up to date with the latest information on the merger, please refer to your usual practice’s website and if you don’t access the internet, there’ll be information available in the surgeries.

Thank you for your continued support of the work that all of our primary care team provide to our patient community.

With kind regards

The Directors of 12PointCare and the Doctors and Staff at Sollershott Surgery and Birchwood Surgery