Update: Merger between Stansted and Elsenham Surgeries

Dear Patients of Elsenham and Stansted Surgeries,

To avoid misinformation and rumour, and to remain open and transparent (as we plan to be throughout), we would like to put out the following statement on behalf of both practices.

The Partners of Elsenham and Stansted Surgeries have met both as individual practices, and together as partners – on numerous occasions – to discuss merger options. We have taken our time to explore our options and have consulted several stakeholders and experts to guide our decision. We have now agreed that we want to procced with a merger, which is planned for completion on 17th April 2024. Herts and West Essex Integrated Care Board have formally approved our merger application, and we will have their support throughout this journey. We are very grateful for their expert advice and feel very grateful to be part of an organisation who support our vision for the future.

We wish to make it crystal clear that the issues Elsenham Surgery experienced last year, are now resolved. This means we are not looking to merge because one of the surgeries is experiencing any particular difficulties, but because we want to come up with a newer, stronger way of working, to benefit patients and staff.

The Partners of both surgeries are committed to this merger. They have bonded well over the previous months, whilst we explore merger options. The Stansted Surgery Partners have recently obtained a dispensing pharmacy licence for Stansted, and to demonstrate their commitment to the merger and joint working, have invited the Elsenham Surgery Partners to join them in this new venture. We are delighted that they have accepted, and we look forward to incorporating this new Community Pharmacy into our merged surgery.

We have absolutely no intention of closing the dispensary in Elsenham Surgery. Our only plans are to improve the dispensary in Elsenham by:  

  • Extending the new pharmacy’s home delivery service to dispensing patients at Elsenham Surgery. This will mean that if your medication is dispensed by the newly merged surgery (on Elsenham Surgery’s premises), it can be delivered to your home. There will be some restrictions on who we can deliver to, and we will communicate further information about this in the near future.
  • The pharmacist employed to run the new pharmacy in Stansted, will also have some oversight responsibilities for the Elsenham Surgery dispensary, such as ensuring cost effective drug purchases, and widening the pool of drug suppliers, so we can be more effective at sourcing drugs.

The newly merged practices will also be able to offer the services of the new Community Pharmacy, based at Castle Maltings, downstairs from Stansted Surgery, as a new option for non-dispensing patients of Elsenham Surgery for prescriptions, as well as a range of services including dosette boxes, travel vaccinations, hearing tests, weight loss services etc. The new pharmacy is called Peacock Pharmacy, and will be dispensing from 1 November 2023.

We want this to be a slow but steady process and if, at any time, we feel the merger is no longer in the best interests of patients or staff, we will cease to progress the project.

We also want to reassure you that there will be very minimal changes for staff.  There are no staff losses or redundancies planned. We will work very hard to ensure that patients are also affected minimally. Clearly, working together will mean that there will be some changes, but we will continually assess the impact of changes to staff and patients.

This merger is a positive move that will protect, safeguard and enhance services to patients over the coming years.  This is a time of huge uncertainty for all parts of the NHS and, by doing this, we know we will be in a stronger position as a larger organisation.

We are all very excited at the prospect of offering something new and innovative in a way that we are unable to as two individual practices.

We understand that patients may be anxious about the prospect of the merger, but we promise that the intended outcome is a wider range of services to patients, and increased capacity for clinical appointments over our two sites.

We are only now starting to plan and structure the merger, and there will be much discussion behind the scenes. We have met with Elsenham and Stansted Surgery’s Patient Participation Groups, and they are aware of our plans to proceed with the merger. A joint Patient Participation Group meeting is planned for November 2023 – and the 2 groups will be merging into one. We plan to involve them at every step of the way.

Alongside the planning of the merger, we will be working on some options regarding upgrading and extending Elsenham Surgery’s premises.

We will be announcing some pop-in clinics in the future, where patients can visit us and ask us any questions about the merger. We will cascade these dates in the near future.

We will be very grateful for your ongoing support for our merger, and ask for your patience while we start planning. There are still some questions that we cannot answer yet, but we will keep you all up-to-date as we go along.