Important Information

Please note that due to the current situation with the Coronavirus we are suspending the Boxford GP service for a temporary period.  All patients who need an appointment will be triaged by a Healthcare Professional and if necessary will be seen at our main Hadleigh site where we have the facilities and team working to enable us to continue seeing our patients.  We want to reassure our patients that this is a temporary measure while we are dealing with this very difficult situation.

Our dispensary at Boxford will remain open for the following hours:

  • 8.00am - 1.00pm & 1.30pm – 4.30pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
  • 8.00am – 1.00pm Wednesday

The challenges faced

As patients will be aware, there is a growing pressure on GP services nationwide, and we at the Hadleigh and Boxford Group practice are beginning to feel the strain too. Our wish is to maintain a full and comprehensive service for our patients, but this is becoming increasingly hard to do in the current climate.

A few facts:

  • 24 half-day closures of Boxford in a 4 month period due to staff shortages
  • 1 in 3 appointments in Boxford are actually for Hadleigh patients
  • Continued loss of GP workforce. By October 2020, the retirements of Dr Irwin and Dr Cullen will reduce the number of GPs even further. This will result in over 270 fewer patient appointments per week (compared with this time last year).

The options and solutions

We have changed our appointment system on a Monday morning to the triage of patient calls. This ensures patients are seen by the most appropriate person for their needs. It has proven to be extremely worthwhile and our plan is to eventually replicate this on all weekday mornings.

We have employed an additional nurse practitioner who will work alongside our two current nurse practitioners. Jeff will assist with triage, treating patients in dedicated clinics and overseeing good medical management for our care home patients.

Despite these strategies, there is still a shortfall in doctor numbers and so our attention has turned to Boxford. As a practice, we recognise the value of the Boxford surgery to our patients, especially the dispensary and phlebotomy. We have consulted with GPs, dispensary staff, NHS England and have had a number of open discussion meetings with the Patient Participation Group on the best way forward.  We have considered several options including:

  • Full closure of Boxford to consolidate our staff in one location
  • Partial closure for both GP services and dispensary services
  • Partial closure of GP services but maintaining the dispensary and phlebotomy services

To maintain as complete a service as possible, within the constraints of GP staffing levels, we have decided that from April 2020 we will reduce our GP services in Boxford and maintain our dispensary and phlebotomy service.

Appointments will be available at Boxford at these times:

  • Morning appointments with GPs will be available on Monday, Tuesday Thursday and Friday only
  • Phlebotomy service on a Thursday morning
  • There will be no GP appointments on any afternoon or on Wednesdays 

The Boxford surgery will be open for prescriptions at these times:

  • 8.00am - 1.00pm & 1.30pm – 4.30pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
  • 8.00am – 1.00pm Wednesday

To minimise the impact on our local patients, we will prioritise these GP appointments for the residents of Boxford. This will free up between 5 to 10 appointments a day that can be used by a resident of Boxford or the surrounding villages.  

What does this mean for me as a patient?

  • If you are a Hadleigh patient, we ask that you limit your appointments to the Hadleigh surgery, rather than Boxford.
  • Sadly, we will have a reduced number of GP appointments available in Boxford but we hope that, by prioritising those appointments for local residents, there will be as little disruption as possible.
  • The Thursday morning phlebotomy service will remain unchanged, as will the whole of the dispensary services in Boxford. This means that even when there is no GP on site, you are still able to collect your medication.
  • We will be changing the GPs working in Boxford to reflect these changes. These details are yet to be confirmed.
  • We accept that more patients will be seeking appointments in Hadleigh and the employment of the new nurse practitioner is in response to this.
  • We are not intending to make any further changes in Boxford for the foreseeable future.

If you have any queries about this, please send them on to iesccg.boxfordfeedback@nhs.net and we will endeavor to answer these as best as we can.

Thank you for your patience and understanding,

The partners of Hadleigh and Boxford Group Practice