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Bigger doesn’t always mean better

My practice, Matthew Ryder Clinic may be a small expanding in West Lancashire with only 2,843 patients, but even in this current trend towards ‘working at scale’, we’re thriving, and showing that bigger doesn’t always mean better.

We have been finalists at the General Practice Awards for three of the last for years as diabetes team of the year, GP of the year and team of the year. We are the only practice in West Lancashire signed off for management and initiation of insulin in a multi-disciplinary team approach and our list size is increasing by 12% a year.

It is hard for any small family practice to survive in the evolving NHS in crisis, and we have struggled to engage with NHS West Lancashire CCG in our vision which echoes the national approach to small and medium sized practices which are failing daily. However we have implemented several solutions that have helped us in the current climate.

We have upskilled a doctor and a nurse who have obtained a diploma module in insulin management to develop a community model going forward in collaboration with community diabetic specialist nurses.

We also upskilled a doctor with a diploma in sports and exercise medicine, to develop a GP portfolio and job diversification to attract young doctors into the practice.

We also created the role of an extra practice nurse and a team of doctors to cover the practice’s work as stadium doctor for Wigan Athletic and Wigan Warriors at the DW stadium. This has developed to provide medical care and attention of professional rugby league players at Wigan Warriors, Catalan Dragons, Salford Reds and the French national team.

We have achieved very high patient satisfaction and significant reduction in A&E attendances with our dynamic approach to patient access.

We have also been successful in integrating mental healthcare into our practice in collaboration with Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust. This innovative approach will see NHS GP and mental health services operating in the same practice with shared administrative staff.

Our experience shows how collaboration between general practice and other services is not the sole preserve of large practices and small family-run GP practices can still provide an excellent service for patients.

A spokesperson from NHS West Lancashire CCG, said: ‘We are very pleased to see that the Matthew Ryder Clinic has developed their services to such a high level that that they are receiving national recognition. Additionally, we are delighted that they have engaged with our innovative diabetes upskilling programme and have achieved level 4. This programme has been very successful in developing practices to provide much more community based diabetic care.

‘However, we are sorry to learn that they are finding it difficult to engage with the CCG. As with any of our GP practices in West Lancashire, our channels of communication are always open to the practice and we would welcome any new ideas and good practice to be shared with all of our fellow member practices.’

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