More surgeries will be run by eHarleyStreet

Bryntirion Surgery

Caerphilly Observer recently reported that Bryntirion Surgery will soon be run by a Leicestershire-based firm, which will take over from the health board on April 1.

Now, we can reveal four other surgeries in Gwent will have changed hands to the same company by April of this year.

From April 1, Aberbeeg Medical Practice, Brynmawr Medical Practice, and Blaenavon Medical Practice, will all be run by eHarleyStreet, Primary Care Solutions.

The firm’s contract for Tredegar Health Centre started on January 1.

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB) will not have any directly managed practices once the surgeries change hands. This means every GP service in the health board area will either be run by a private company or a GP.

While the contracts will be held by Dr Jalil Ahmed and Dr Jonathan Allinson, they will not directly run the practices.

Dr Ahmed and Dr Allinson are the CEO and chief operating officer of eHarleyStreet, a company comprised of “experts” from private business and healthcare sectors – including GPs.

The company aims to improve “morale and working environment” in the surgeries it runs while “continuing to deliver an efficient and positive patient experience”.

This is a different model from the usual partnership at most surgeries, where one or several self-employed GPs are business owners and also take care of the day-to-day running of the practice.

“Effectively moving from public sector-provided health care”

eHarleyStreet currently runs several surgeries across England and Wales.

It was awarded the contract to Bryntirion and Markham after it was advertised late last year – and was the only applicant.

It comes after Bryntirion Surgery was handed back to the health board in 2017 after its GPs resigned. It then took on Markham Medical Centre as a branch surgery of the practice in 2019.

Caerphilly’s Labour Senedd Member, Hefin David, said that while the operator was “very good news” for patients, the primary healthcare sector needed reform.

Dr David continued: “Since I was elected in 2016, we’ve seen the surgery face a number of challenges – it needed significant support from the health board. 

“However, this is an excellent sign of improvement and I look forward to working with the new partners in the future.”

Despite this, Dr David added that the current model of primary health care is in fundamental need of reform.

Speaking in the Senedd on January 9, he said: “As a socialist and from the perspective of a socialist government this is effectively moving from public sector-provided healthcare to the private sector.”

“A well-established model of care” – ABUHB

An Aneurin Bevan University Health Board spokesperson said the contract is a “standard NHS Wales General Medical Services (GMS) Contract” found in all other GP partnerships under its remit. 

The spokesperson added that some recipients of the GMS Contracts “deliver clinical sessions themselves” but others – like Dr Allinson and Dr Ahmed – only provide “clinical oversight”.

This means Dr Allinson and Dr Ahmed will employ salaried GPs and other staff to deliver care. 

Many of the surgery’s current staff members will be retained, according to the health board. 

They continued: “This is already a well-established model of care in Gwent and in other parts of Wales. As Dr Allinson and Dr Ahmed hold three other contracts with GP practices across the health board, we are satisfied with the way in which they operate and deliver care within their existing contracts.

“We believe this is a positive outcome for both patients and staff of Bryntirion Surgery, and we will work closely with Dr Allinson and Dr Ahmed during this transition period to ensure patient care is not affected.  

“We want to reassure patients that they do not need to do anything – all patients will remain registered with the practice and will continue to access services from Bryntirion Surgery and the branch site in Markham.”

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