Introducing Symphony Healthcare Services FAQ’s

Posted by: clarehartgen - Posted on:

The launch of Symphony Healthcare Services

In 2015, the south Somerset Symphony Programme was created through Yeovil Hospital and key healthcare organisations within south Somerset.  The programme was given ‘vanguard status’ (via special project funding from NHS England) and tasked with creating innovative new ways of delivering high quality care to patients and in particular, strengthening and supporting primary care to support GPs and ease the pressure on the NHS as a whole.

Symphony Healthcare Services was developed as part of the Symphony Programme, to offer further support to GP Practices.

Tell me more about Symphony Healthcare Services

In April 2016, Symphony Healthcare Services (SHS) was created after three GP practices approached Yeovil Hospital directly for help.  Ilchester Surgery, Yeovil Health Centre and Buttercross Health Centre in Somerton were the first practices to integrate into SHS.

Like many GP practices locally and nationally, these practices had been struggling to manage the operational and financial pressures on the surgery; with difficulties in recruiting permanent GPs, rising costs, increasing patient numbers and demand, along with highly complex healthcare needs. 

In addition, a growing number of well-run, successful practices have also chosen to join SHS. By working together as a larger team across a network of GP practices, we can review and adapt our healthcare services to ensure that we can meet patients’ changing needs and ensure that a high quality healthcare service can be sustained for the future.

Is it private healthcare?

SHS is an NHS healthcare organisation.  As a wholly owned subsidiary of Yeovil District Hospital, SHS operates as an ‘arm’s length’ General Practice company.

The healthcare services that we provide our patients are funded by the NHS through the same contracts as any other GP practice.  We work very closely with NHS England, the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the Local Medical Committee (LMC) and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to ensure that the care we provide meets the high standards set by these regulatory authorities.

Which practices have already joined Symphony Healthcare Services?

Currently, 11 GP practices based over 15 locations have joined SHS, including:

Oaklands Surgery & Yeovil Health Centre; Buttercross Health Centre & Ilchester Surgery; Crewkerne Health Centre & West One Surgery;Highbridge Medical Centre; Wincanton Health Centre;Hamdon Medical Centre; The Meadows Surgery in Ilminster; Martock and South Petherton surgeries; Bruton Surgery; Exmoor Medical Centre; Ryalls Park Medical Centre;

How will Symphony Healthcare Services support GP practices?

Practices that choose to join SHS will benefit from the additional support of an experienced central team; providing support with back office functions as well as clinical expertise, enabling GPs and practice healthcare teams to focus more on patient care.

With reducing numbers of GPs nationally and increasing patient needs, we are adapting the traditional GP focused model to offer an extended team of healthcare professionals and specialists who are able to care for our patients.

New roles are being developed as part of a multi-disciplinary team to work alongside our GPs. These new roles include; Pharmacists, Musculoskeletal Practitioners (MSK), Enhanced Care Practitioners (ECP) who are usually trained paramedics, Nurse Practitioners and Social Prescribers.

By developing an extended team approach across our practices, we can support the patients with the most complex healthcare needs, as well as helping patients to manage their existing health conditions at home, without unnecessary admittance to hospital.

What changes will we see?                                                                                             

Initially very few. The aim of SHS is to sustain and support practices to develop their healthcare services to strengthen primary care and to help recruit and retain the healthcare teams required to provide high quality healthcare services for patients. 

In time, our aim will be to develop opportunities for our SHS practice network to work together more closely; providing services for the local patient population and to meet the growing challenges in Primary Care. 

By developing and extending our healthcare teams through a multi-disciplinary approach, we can help to manage GP workloads and offer patients a wider choice of specialist services.

Our existing SHS teams will work closely together with Lynton Health Centre to share expertise, best practice and knowledge to promote innovation and transformation for the future. Importantly, with the added support of the SHS central team, the practice will be able to focus on continuing to provide quality healthcare to you.

Following integration, will I still be able to see the same GPs at the surgery?

Dr Glen Allaway, Dr Maria Allaway and Dr Theon Rogers will remain at the surgery and will continue to provide you with your care as they currently do.

In addition, the surgery will continue as a training practice and therefore you may also be treated at times by a trainee GP.

Overall, we are extremely excited to work with Glen, Maria and the team as we note that the services and care they provide are excellent.    

You can find out more information about Symphony Healthcare Services by visiting: