Tough times for a GP practice
There are some circumstances where a GP practice is on the brink of failure because of a lack of permanent GPs and, in 2021, Pond Tail Surgery in Godstone was in that unfortunate situation. Their patient satisfaction had dropped from 72% to 50%. It fell to Surrey Heartlands Health & Care Partnership to choose someone to take over running Pond Tail and they appointed DHC.
It quickly became apparent that recruiting new GPs for Pond Tail would be an enormous challenge. We were in the middle of a national GP recruitment crisis; why would anyone choose to work in a dysfunctional practice without a supportive team of GP colleagues when there were better job offers around? Drawing upon expertise from across our Federation, we put together a team we referred to as the ‘Pond Tail Transformation Board’ to come up with a rescue plan.
Bringing about change in a practice that is not functioning is tougher than I expected. But the problems were not impossible. We took it step by step and worked hard, with other practices in our GP Federation providing generous support. We discovered that it was better to be open about the difficulties as it attracted people who wanted to make a real difference.