Date: 20/03/2008 Category: Medway PCT
Companies bidding to run new GP practices in Medway first had to make their case before the toughest of all critics - the patients themselves. When Medway PCT invited tenders from companies interested in running surgeries in Gillingham, Rainham and Luton, they set up an appraisal panel that included patients as well as health care professionals and staff. The result was that local provider Malling Health, based at West Malling, beat all-comers - including a number of much larger organisations - to be awarded the contract. From 1 April the practice will be providing primary care from surgeries in Nelson Road, Gillingham, the former Mierscourt Road Surgery - now operating from the Rainham Healthy Living Centre - and Long Catlis Road in Parkwood. Malling Health will also operate a branch surgery operating temporarily in Kings Road in Luton. Practice manager Evelyn Galbraith said Malling Health was delighted to have beaten a number of larger organisations and was looking forward to delivering a locally-focused, high quality health service to local people in Medway. "We felt it was important to offer a local and more personal service and we were really pleased that the patients who attended the presentation agreed that they wanted our company to provide their health care in this area," she said. Malling Health currently runs surgeries in West Malling, Kings Hill and Leybourne. The company will take on existing staff at the surgeries but will also be creating 11 new jobs, including GPs and nurse practitioners. The surgeries will operate longer hours than currently, offering two 7.30am starts and two 7.30pm finishes on top of a basic 8.30am to 6pm five-day week. As well as GP and nurse practitioner surgeries, the practices will offer on-site blood testing, warfarin clinics and other primary care advice, all designed to provide a modern, efficient and customer-focused service. They are also expected to relieve pressure on over-subscribed surgeries in the area.