Keep your finger on the pulse

Better access to GP services for Purfleet residents

NHS patients in Purfleet are set to benefit from improved access to GP services following a management change at the Purfleet Care Centre on Tank Hill Road.

Currently operated by NHS South West Essex, management of the centre will shortly pass to Assura Chelmsford LLP, a partnership between local GP practice and specialist healthcare provider Assura medical, following the PCT’s decision to put the contract out to open tender.

Opening hours at the practice will initially remain the same (8am to 6.30pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and 8am to 12.30pm on Thursday), but will shortly be extended to 8am to 6:30pm Monday to Friday.

Purfleet Care Centre currently caters for just under 5,000 patients, but the practice is currently accepting new patients and it is hoped that the extended opening hours will provide patients with more choice about when they wish to see a doctor.

The centre offers a full general practice service with access to a range of healthcare professionals as well as advice and support on living a healthy lifestyle, contraception and substance misuse support.

Dr Peter Stern, a local GP and chair of Assura Chelmsford, said: “We are delighted to be able to have this opportunity to provide for the health needs of the people of Purfleet.

“We are committed to providing patients with high quality access, easy and convenient access to a GP or nurse and when they need it. New patients are invited to register with us should they wish to do so.”

The Purfleet Care Centre is one of two practices recently put out to tender by the PCT, the other being the PCTMS practice at the Dipple Medical Centre East Wing.

Ian Stidston, director of primary care at the PCT, said: “I am pleased to announce that Malling Health and Assura Chelmsford have been awarded the contracts to manage the PCTMS practice at the Dipple Medical Centre East Wing and the Purfleet Care Centre respectively.

“The practices will continue to provide NHS services and we hope that these groups of GPs will help to bring improvements to the practices, enabling them to better meet the needs of patients over time.

“I would like to extend my thanks to all patients who gave their feedback on the practices, which was fed directly into this process to ensure we chose the right providers.

“Most importantly at this stage, the new management arrangements will bring permanent GPs to the PCTMS practice at the Dipple Medical Centre East Wing.

“I would like to stress that all practice staff are being given the opportunity to transfer to the new organisations if they choose to.”

The PCTMS practice at the Dipple Medical Centre East Wing and the Purfleet Care Centre are two of ten practices that were directly run by the primary care trust; the other 71 practices across the patch are run by GPs themselves as independent contractors. NHS South West Essex is inviting other organisations to apply to take over the management of the other eight surgeries through a structured procurement process.

This follows Department of Health policy, which is clear that it does not expect primary care trusts to directly manage practices other than for short periods or in an emergency.

By bringing in new independent management, the primary care trust will be cementing its position as a commissioner of services, rather than a provider. It means that NHS South West Essex will be able to focus on developing, buying and performance-managing services, while providers can excel at service delivery and clinical practice.

The PCTMS practice at the Dipple Medical Centre East Wing and the Purfleet Care Centre in Purfleet are in the first phase of the project. The procurement process for the other eight practices is already underway with contracts expected to be awarded in October 2011.

As part of the process, patients have been encouraged to give their views of their practice.

Assura Chelmsford also operates the highly popular North Chelmsford NHS Healthcare which is open from 8am to 8pm, 365 days per year.

Purfleet Care Centre
Tank Hill Road
Essex RM19 1SX

Tel: 01708 864 834


Press enquiries
Russell Elliott, Assura Chelmsford: 020 7380 1794; 07855 806 093
Georgia Jerram, NHS South West Essex: 01268 245 764

Notes to editors

Assura Chelmsford:

  • is a 50:50 joint venture partnership between 13 local GP practices and leading healthcare provider Assura Medical;
  • currently operates the North Chelmsford NHS Healthcare Centre which open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Sunday; and
  • is run by a clinical management board (CMB) which comprises of four GPs, a business director and an Assura Medical regional general manager.
  • Assura Medical provides all the necessary support in the way of funding, service and commercial expertise, IT, business processes and additional resources.
  • As a partner to the NHS, Assura Medical has a track record of forming partnerships with groups of GPs in order to provide high quality and safe healthcare services in primary and community settings closer to the patient’s home.

NHS South West Essex

  • There are no requirements for formal public consultation around a change of management where there is no significant change in service, but NHS South West Essex will welcome input and feedback from patients. Both Thurrock Council and Essex County Council Health Overview and Scrutiny Committees support this approach.
  • Patients have had the opportunity to give their feedback about the practices in the second and third phases of the procurement process by completing and returning a feedback form that we will send them. There have been drop-in sessions held at each of the practices, where patients came along to ask questions and alleviate any concerns.
  • The other eight practices that are currently managed by NHS South West Essex and are in the next two phases of the procurement process are: The Gore Practice, Basildon; St Clement’s Health Centre, West Thurrock; Dillip Sabnis Medical Centre, Chadwell St Mary; Brambles Practice, Brentwood; Wickford Health Centre, Wickford; Shotgate Surgery, Wickford; Southview Park Surgery, Basildon; Acorns Surgery, Grays.


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