A Plymouth GP group has double cause for celebration after reaching its fifth birthday – and offering over one million appointments to local patients in that time.
Beacon Medical Group – run by local GPs – oversees six practices in and around the city.
Dr Andrew Mercer, a GP partner at Beacon, said: “We are delighted that we have passed a significant milestone in delivering over one million urgent and routine appointments to patients as we celebrate our fifth anniversary today
(1 April, 2019).
“Patients are our number one priority and around one in two receive an appointment on the day that they contact us requesting one, based on their clinical needs.
“Nevertheless, we aren’t complacent, and we have listened to patient feedback and improved access to our GP surgeries by extending opening hours in the evenings and weekends, enhanced our phone and booking systems, and employed a wider range of skilled clinicians and support staff so patients are seen as quickly as possible.
“We encourage feedback to further improve our services through routes such as our patient participation groups, website and the Friends and Family Test.”
The six practices under Beacon’s portfolio are Plympton Health Centre, Chaddlewood Surgery, Glenside Medical Centre, Ivybridge Health Centre, Wotter Surgery and Highlands Health Centre, which was taken over last year.
Dr Mercer said: “As a group of local GPs we came together to form Beacon Medical Group because we believed that jointly we would be stronger, able to offer new services and attract the best talent. We also knew that working at scale would secure the future for general practices for our communities during challenging times. We have attracted other local GP practices to join us to ensure their long-term sustainability in the communities we all serve at a time when general practice locally and nationally faces significant challenges – particularly with workforce and workload issues.
“All our practices retain their identity and remain firmly embedded in their local communities, largely with the same GPs and wider clinicians and support staff that patients have come to see and know.
“We thank patients for the loyalty that they have shown to their practice and and we are delighted that we will be here to serve future generations – over 1,000 local babies have been registered at our practices since Beacon was formed!
“We are here for the long-term to provide treatment, care and support to our patients. Beacon is owned and run by local GPs, many of whom have close links and an affinity to Plymouth and the surrounding areas; we aren’t a massive national or multi-national company trying to take over local general practice!”
As well as offering high-quality patient care – having been rated Good in its last Care Quality Commission inspection – Beacon also contributes greatly to the local economy. It employs around 150 staff including GPs, paramedics, pharmacists, nurses, health care assistants, managers and receptionists and holds numerous contracts with local companies which help it run smoothly.