THE last of Swindon’s IMH surgeries to have its future decided will be joining forces with another GP practice in the town.

Phoenix Surgery in Toothill will be under the management of Park Lane Practice from December 1.
The partnership will see patient calls to Phoenix taken out of IMH’s centralised call centre and re-routed back to staff working at the practice itself.

Dr Peter Swinyard, a GP who runs Phoenix Surgery, says the move will end months of misery for patients affected by the back-office management of the Manchester-based company since September 2018.

He said: “I think that it’s probably a good outcome. I’m sure we can work very well with Park Lane – better than IMH, I’m sure.

“For patients it will be significantly better, the practice can provide a more personal service. The quality of the service will be better. All in all it will be a great thing.”

Abbey Meads Medical Group, Moredon Medical Centre, Taw Hill Medical Practice and Eldene Surgery – all of which experienced problems under the much-criticised IMH regime – have already either started working with new providers or have plans in place.

Nicki Millin, the director of strategy and transformation for Bath & North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCGs, said: “This is a significant moment, and marks the beginning of the end of what has been an extremely difficult time for patients and their families in accessing services.

“While the CCG had no influence or involvement in bringing IMH to Swindon, when it became apparent that things were not meeting the standard that we and our patients expected, appropriate action was taken, and it was this that led to the firm’s withdrawal.”

Details of how and when the switch at Phoenix will take place have yet to be finalised and patients should continue booking appointments using the current process. 

Ms Millin added: “Our priority now is to continue supporting the practices wherever appropriate, while also allowing them the space to grow and improve, and we hope patients will soon begin to see the re-emergence of a primary care service they can be proud of and have faith in.”

It was announced in June that IMH (Integral Medical Holdings) would be withdrawing from primary care in the town following a string of complaints, many of them related to booking appointments.

Westrop Medical Practice will be the new provider for Taw Hill Medical Practice and Victoria Cross Surgery will take on Eldene Surgery.

Great Western Hospital will be managing Abbey Meads Medical Group and Moredon Medical Centre before the end of November,