West Malling Group Practice

Milverton, 116 High Street, West Malling, ME19 6NE
With surgeries at: West Malling, Leybourne & Kings Hill

Update on Present Site & Possible Changes in 2019 and Beyond

​Following on from the post below named “Present Site at West Malling Plans For the Future” and referring to the minutes from the PPG meeting in July 2017 (these were displayed at every site in the summer and are on our website). I would like to confirm that a “presence in West Malling” will remain for apts. We are in the process of investigating the expected demand for patients that will not be able to travel to our other sites of Leybourne and Kings Hill. As per the post above Kings Hill is half empty and so all the back office admin staff that are presently at West Malling are likely (but not definitely) moving to Kings Hill with a possible some staff going to Leybourne at the end 2018 . We will be reviewing Leybourne opening hours as part of the move with the potential to increases hours at this site if there is the need. Other than our website updates, we use our 6 weekly meetings with our PPG as a way of updating and communicating to patients. Hence the introduction on 12th July 2017 PPG meeting of the need to re-evaluate and get West Malling Valuated for a Sale. At the same time staff were told that the site was up for sale and if a sale could be agreed then we would move and fully occupy 1st floor of Kings Hill site. We have been working with many organisations including West Kent CCG to look at the primary care needs of our patients. We are looking to try and keep our lists open to new patients, and look at the needs of the community in the next 20 years. As per Dr Thomas Reichhelm press release in 2016 “Turning to the future of the group’s three centres, Dr Reichhelm said there were two challenges – ageing accommodation and the stretch of staff across three sites. He was aware of rumours of closures, but reassured patients that nothing was imminent. However, he said that “working across three sites at the time of resource reduction, is proving to be tough and probably not sustainable at present.”
The practice would maintain a presence in West Malling High Street and was not planning to close the Leybourne site. It was looking at expanding its centre at Kings Hill, which had a growing population. Source “http://www.downsmail.co.uk/news_sport/News/GP_practice_cuts_walk-in_service/​
We continue to proactively prepare for growth of Kings Hill this includes the new developments but also the best site for a Medical Centre for transports links and parking. We are being proactive not just now but also planning for the Primary Care needs after all the developments at Kings Hill have completed. It is mainly around parking issue that the current site at Kings Hill will not be the best location for us in the long term around 2022 and beyond. The needs of elderly are very much high priority for us, as are the ability to access any of our sites and parking problems at Kings Hill are included within this. West Malling site is a residential building and although developed over the years is not suitable as a commercial building in modern day world so it has been up for Sale since Summer 2017.
We are a caring dedicated team that want to do the best for all our patients, so we will not be leaving the elderly out of our focus to improve the locations and facilities of our premises. I have been in post 9 months and anyone that has been pregnant will know how quickly this time goes! We have made many operational changes that are just stating to be ready to implement this includes text reminders for apts, credit card machines, increase in staff trained on the phones to name just a few that went live in December 2017 and continue to be developed.
I had a great meeting with our new Acting PPG Chair Bob MacDonald only last week and we have our annual 6 week meeting this Wednesday. We have set out plans to work closely with the PPG to communicate “effectively” to the whole of our patient base. I have taken over updates to our website and plan to now use the “Our news” page on the website to make regular posts and updates. I hope this helps and please ask via our PPG if you have questions, We don’t have all the answers but any questions that are put to us we are happy to answer. It depends on the amount of enquiries we get to if we will be able to answer individuals directly. But if we have several patients asking the same question we will use our website to update. If anyone has an ideal location fit for purpose and within our catchment area I am interested to include it as consideration. We plan to accommodate and continue to grow but at the same time fix and improve the problems that are present, as well as problems that will or could occur through location changes. Please use our generic WMGP email address on our website or the PPG email rather than trying to get answers from Patient Services Staff. I hope this update helps.
Regards Vicki Plummer,
Business and Finance Manager