An Andover GP surgery has said that patient and staff satisfaction has “gone through the roof” since it was saved from closure last year.

Adelaide Medical Centre, on Adelaide Road, was threatened with closure after the GPs gave notice they would end their notice, leaving 9000 patients having to find another doctor. However, before its closure at the end of October, new partners arrived to rescue the practice, and set about turning it around.

Philip Heiden, the managing partner, said there had been “significant positive change” at Adelaide in the past five months.

“Staff satisfaction has gone through the roof,” he told the Advertiser. “They’re now feeling empowered and trained. We’re just about to publish our patient survey, which shows a stark positive difference in patient satisfaction before and after we arrived.”

Adelaide Medical Centre was erected in 1976, and opened shortly afterwards. It served the people of Andover for many years until February 2020, when the possibility it would close was first raised. At the time, the GPs cited increasing workload and recruiting difficulties as reasons for the closure.

However, before its intended closure in October 2020, new partners came on board. Philip Heiden is the new managing partner, looking after the administrative aspects of the surgery, while Dr Paul O’Halloran looks after the clinical side.

“The premises were in a terrible state,” said Philip. “We took over on September 1, and we set about improving the internal maintenance of the facility.”

The partners also wanted to improve staff and patient satisfaction, and set out to find what mattered to them. They hired new staff to fill gaps in provision, and brought in services such as mental health teams and pharmacists for patients which had not been present before.

“Staff satisfaction has gone through the roof,” said Philip. “They’re now feeling empowered and trained. We’re just about to publish our patient survey, which shows a stark positive difference in patient satisfaction before and after we arrived.

“In five months, we think we’ve improved all sides of the business.”

One aspect the partners didn’t consider when joining the practice was the imminent Covid pandemic, which in August 2020 was the stuff of sci-fi.

“It’s been challenging with Covid,” said Philip. “Urgent pressures were forced upon us that we weren’t expecting, and providing the vaccine took teams away from the frontline.”

However, he said there had been positives of the pandemic, which “helped refocus” staff on changes.

“The appetite for change before the pandemic was less,” he said, “as it had all been done on paper for a long time. The pandemic has opened up eyes to new possibilities”.

One such change has been the introduction of new IT systems to make the surgery more efficient, so that staff have more time to talk with patients.

Another negative of the centre was the availability of parking for patients. Plans were submitted for electric charging points and new spaces in September, but were withdrawn following concerns from council highways officers.

“We’re trying to think of how we can get around those concerns,” said Philip. “They raised concerns for residents parking as well, but what permit parking do they want? If it’s afternoon and weekends, then we’re shut.”

Looking to the future, the centre wants to continue to improve. In a recent survey, telephone wait times were identified as one of the negatives of the centre, so the partners want to change that by introducing new systems and processes so that staff have more time to answer phones.

They also want to hear more from patients about what changes they would like to see. If you are interested in getting involved with the patient participation group, you should visit: