Pond Tail Surgery, in Godstone, Surrey, is a well-established practice with a registered list size of approximately 7,000. Uncertainty about Pond Tail practice has arisen since the sad, untimely death of the former, single handed contract holder, Dr Khan-Gilbert.
What do I need to know as a patient?
There are currently no plans for the practice to close. Surrey Heartlands Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) intends to run a competitive procurement process to find an appropriately qualified organisation or individual to provide primary care services from the current Pond Tail Surgery premises.
Delivery of services is reliant on the availability of the existing premises. Surrey Heartlands CCCG is currently participating in positive negotiations with the landlords of Pond Tail Surgery to agree continued occupancy of the existing building for at least the next five years. These discussions must conclude satisfactorily for both parties before a competitive procurement exercise will be launched.
You do not have to do anything. There is no change to patient care and, we anticipate, there will not be once a new contract commences. Services continue to be available and accessed in the usual way. All patients will be informed once the dialogue with the landlords and subsequent procurement process is known.
The surgery has a registered list size of approximately 7,000.
At the present time there is no need to register elsewhere. Pond Tail Surgery remains open and continues to provide care to the registered patient list. Following our December 2020-January 2021 patient survey, the CCG has clearly heard the preference expressed by patients to retain services in Godstone and is working hard to deliver this. In the very unlikely event any alternative arrangements need to be established, patients will be supported.
The patient list size will be a consideration for potential bidders as there needs to be a list size large enough to present a viable business opportunity. Should the list size reduce because of patients migrating to other practices, the opportunity may appear less attractive to potential bidders. Ultimately, however, the decision to stay or leave Pond Tail Surgery lies with each individual patient.
Between 10 December 2020 and 18 January 2021, we carried out an informal engagement to advise patients registered at Pond Tail Surgery about the different options under consideration. We also undertook a survey to inform us about your preferences going forward. A summary of responses is available on the Surrey Heartlands Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Pond Tail Surgery webpage.
During June 2021 we are holding face to face and online patient information sessions which will provide an opportunity for patients to hear first-hand from Surrey Heartlands CCG about the process for procurement and to ask any questions you may have. Detail of the sessions is below. Patients can register via the Eventbrite links on the Pond Tail Surgery webpage.
Face-to-face information sessions
Six events, each lasting 30 minutes, will take place on Wednesday 9th June and Monday 14th June between 10am and 4pm at The White Hart Barn, 71 High St, Godstone RH9 8DU. There is public car parking opposite The White Hart Barn.
Online patient information sessions
Two online events will take place via Microsoft Teams on Thursday 10th June and Tuesday 22nd June from 7pm to 7.30pm.
The CCG and GP practice is using all available channels to communicate with patients – letters, text messages, public meetings, local word of mouth and displays, online materials, websites, and social media.
Patients on the practice registered list do not need to worry; the very fact they are registered ensures they remain eligible for care as needed. If the procurement process does not result in a new contract holder (please refer to ‘About procurement’ section) and the decision is subsequently made to ask people to register elsewhere, direct communication will be made with registered patients and clear messaging will inform callers to the practice telephone line and/or website. All patients will be given clear signposting to further support. We emphasise again that this is not our preferred option, and all efforts are being made to avoid it.
We will work closely with all vulnerable patients to provide individual support and ensure their care needs are met as best as possible. We will also be asking a specific question of bidders during the procurement process about their delivery of care to vulnerable cohorts of people. This is a question for which we are seeking a patient evaluator as we know it is significant.
If you are concerned or have concerns about somebody else, please contact us.
Procurement is the act of obtaining goods or services, typically for business purposes. Procurement is most commonly associated with businesses and larger organisations because they need to engage services or purchase goods, usually on a relatively large scale.
Procurement is also the term used to describe the process of purchasing goods or services via a tendering or competitive bidding process. The buyer, in this case, Surrey Heartlands CCG, describes the characteristics and/or the specifics of the product or services they wish to buy and requests responses to a series of questions from capable organisations termed as, “bidders.” It concludes by appointing a specific provider, a specified number of providers or a collaboration of providers as allowed under the terms of the process that is published to bidders.
Surrey Heartlands CCG is obliged by law to advertise the opportunity to provide GP primary care services at this practice. After the devastating death of Dr Khan-Gilbert we were permitted by NHS England/Improvement to set up a temporary contract with Dr Shazia Chaudhary to ensure continuity of care for patients. This was with the understanding that prior to expiry of Dr Chaudhary’s temporary contract on 31st December 2021 new permanent arrangements would be established to take effect from 1st January 2022.
Having identified that there are no proceedable alternative sites available within the local area and required timeframe, in the event that the CCG fails to successfully conclude negotiations with the landlords and the existing premises become unavailable it would become necessary to close the practice and ask patients to re-register at alternative local surgeries. This is not the CCG’s preferred option.
The opportunity to bid for this service will only be released by Surrey Heartlands CCG if negotiations with the landlords are successful in securing access to the premises for a minimum term of five years.
The procurement process itself does not guarantee bidders coming forward nor the appointment thereafter of a new contract holder, however, Surrey Heartlands is maximising the likelihood of this by releasing as much information to the market as possible. This will allow potential bidders to decide if the opportunity is right for them. Information will include, but is not limited to, a profile of practice activity, a Service Specification, Contract Terms and Conditions, Lease Heads of Terms, Asset Lists, Staffing Information etc.
The only reasons why a competitive procurement may not result in the successful, award of a new contract are:
• No bidders respond to the opportunity.
• Bidders do not meet the qualifying criteria to progress to the scored assessment stage in the process.
• Bidders fail to reach the pass mark during the assessment stage.
• Bidders fail to produce information, by a deadline date agreed, on which their bid is founded.
• The winning bidder fails to sign the contract at the end of the process.
Surrey Heartlands Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will run a process called an “Open” Tender with Combined Response. This means that potential bidders will need to complete a standard assurance and due diligence (qualification) questionnaire along with their answers (bid submissions) to specific quality questions directly related to the running of Pond Tail Surgery. The process is undertaken in a single stage (hence the term combined response). This means bidders will make one submission with all their answers to all questions.
The steps to be followed for this procurement are:
1. Publish all the Tender Documents including the service specification.
2. Bidders submit their Tender responses.
3. Evaluators will independently evaluate the responses.
4. The Evaluation Panel will conduct a Moderation process to reach a single agreed score per question.
5. The bidder with the highest score against the published scoring methodology will be agreed as the successful provider.
6. Contract Award.
8. Service Go Live 1st January 2022.
Mobilisation refers to activities that should be carried out after the contractor/s has been appointed, but before they take responsibility for service delivery. It is a preparatory stage during which service delivery is maintained by the existing contractor, but the newly appointed contractor is readying themselves.
It will include things such as:
• Understanding operational activities
• Ensuring all IT & IG transfer arrangements are made appropriately
• Setting up any new services
• Establishing relationships with existing staff and on-boarding potential new clinical and operational staff
No, we are waiting for negotiations to conclude with the landlords securing the length of the lease and the Heads of Terms i.e., the conditions of the commercial lease transaction to be agreed in principle between the new contract holder and the landlords.
Once the tender is released it is a lengthy process to complete. We aim to conclude by Autumn 2021 to allow time for the newly appointed contract holder to mobilise their service ahead of the Go Live date of 1st January 2022. Arrangements are in place to ensure that services are maintained at Pond Tail Surgery until the procurement process is completed.
Surrey Heartlands CCG will be advertising for a patient representative to participate on the procurement Evaluation Panel. They will be one of a number of evaluators for specific questions asked of bidders. They will also attend the moderation process with Surrey Heartlands CCG colleagues. This opportunity will be advertised, and full training provided. Please keep an eye on the Pond Tail Surgery webpage to see updates regarding how to become involved.
This is an open tender opportunity for any qualified organisation/individual which/who may seek to bid. Information about the circumstances of Pond Tail Surgery is public and can be found on the Surrey Heartlands Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Pond Tail Surgery webpage.
You will also find a link to the Prior Information Notice (PIN) published for bidders on that page or the GOV.UK website on the Contracts Finder webpage.
Once the opportunity goes live, we will update the CCG webpage and also provide a link to tender documentation.
The contract is being advertised competitively and will be open to any/all providers meeting the qualifying conditions.
Inability to identify a new contract holder
If it is not possible to conclude negotiations with the landlords and release a tender; or if the procurement process does not result in a preferred bidder for the reasons stated in the ‘About procurement’ FAQ section, then it would be necessary to close the Pond Tail GP practice. Patients would be required to register with alternative local practices, this process is known as “list dispersal”. We understand that this may be unsettling for patients, and we would provide full support to help them should this course of action become necessary. We hope that it will not. This is not the CCG’s preferred option.
This would involve running face-to-face sessions where we help people to identify another local surgery that meets their individual needs. We would explain the steps involved in registering with another surgery and support the practice staff at these sites to accommodate the influx of newly registering patients. Your medical records would follow you when you re-register with another practice. Information would not get lost, and this would be overseen and managed by the CCG.
If closure is the final outcome, based on previous experience Surrey Heartlands CCG is confident there will be enough time to support all patients.
How to submit feedback
Surrey Heartlands CCG welcomes patient feedback at every stage and all comments will be taken into consideration.
- Tel: 0300 561 1555
- SMS: 07917 087 560 (text phone only)
- Write: FAO Communications and Engagement Team, NHS Surrey Heartlands CCG, Cedar Court, Guildford Road, Leatherhead, Surrey, KT22 9AE and make sure you include your full address and postcode
- Pond Tail Surgery (Godstone) Future GP Services
- Pond Tail Surgery (Godstone) Future GP Services - Background and Updates
- Pond Tail Surgery (Godstone) Future GP Services - Bidder Information
- Pond Tail Surgery (Godstone) Future GP Services - FAQs
- Pond Tail Surgery (Godstone) Future GP Services - Patient Information Sessions
- Pond Tail Surgery (Godstone) Future GP Services - Patient Survey