Measures to ensure continued clinical services at an Aberdeen GP practice will begin next month.
Aberdeen City Health & Social Care Partnership (ACHSCP) says a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the award-winning Denburn Medical Practice will mean services are maintained at Old Aberdeen Medical Practice at the OAMP building until a longer-term solution is agreed.
Denburn will be responsible for providing clinical services for all OAMP patients for a six-month period, starting on February 1.
The Integration Joint Board (IJB), which oversees the work of ACHSCP, agreed last month to change the way in which six GP practices in the city are managed – Old Aberdeen, Torry, Carden, Whinhill, Marywell, and Camphill.
The six are currently managed by ACHSCP. Aberdeen has 22 other practices, owned and operated by GP partners which is the typical way of running practices across Scotland and the rest of the UK.
The IJB decided it would be best for the patients and staff at the six practices to be run by GP partners, to make practices more sustainable by working more closely together.
ACHSCP will now progress the procurement process to find suitable GPs to run the six practices – together, individually or in combinations.
ACHSCP invited all practices in Grampian to put forward a note of interest in providing the services, following GP resignations from Old Aberdeen.
One note of interest was received from Denburn and it was evaluated before the award of the SLA and was deemed to fully meet the immediate requirements of OAMP.
Denburn GP partner Dr Amir Iqbal said: “Denburn has supported practices in need in the shire and city in the past, by deploying staff to help meet patient need. We now aim to support OAMP and we have the know-how and the enthusiasm to do so.
“We have a diverse team of professionals to help meet patients’ needs appropriately, including GPs, advanced nurse practitioners (ANP), pharmacists, link practitioners, mental health care support workers and practice nurses.
“We all work together as part of large team, with patients as our primary focus – and we are keen to support patients at this time, when they are coping with the Covid pandemic and in a period of uncertainty due to the changes at OAMP.
Denburn was an early adopter of new ways of providing GP services, including a telephone-based triage system, Near Me video consultations, text messaging to patients, and remote consulting. The practice has won three North East Faculty Innovation awards in recent years.
Dr Iqbal said: “We are an innovative practice and always aim to enhance patient access in ways that suit them best. We have sufficient resource to help OAMP through the next few months. We are team players and always try to help.”
The Denburn Medical Practice was formed in 2010 from the merger of two local smaller practices, Northburn and Viaduct, which were both at risk of closure. Northfield then also merged into Denburn in 2018.
The GP surgery has been supporting NHS Grampian during the coronavirus pandemic as well, by seconding two GPs for three months to work full time at the Covid care hub, and ANP staff also volunteered to do extra shifts.
A medical student training hub was also set up at the practice for up to four students at a time.
ACHSCP chief officer Sandra MacLeod said: “We are delighted that Denburn stepped forward to offer this support, which means we can continue to provide services to patients, from the same location and with the same group of core supporting staff at the OAMP practice.
“The Partnership would like to thank Denburn for enabling the remaining practice team in Old Aberdeen to maintain service delivery to their practice population. The practice will continue to be managed by ACHSCP during the period of the SLA.”