Jon Twelves, Sunderland GP Alliance chief executive with the team.
(L-R): Jon Twelves, Sunderland GP Alliance chief executive with the team.
Austen Shakespeare

Sunderland healthcare business expands offices at the North East Business and Innovation Centre

An organisation that supports GPs in Sunderland is continuing its expansion to help drive forward the innovation of NHS services.

Sunderland GP Alliance has expanded its base at the North East Business and Innovation Centre for the fourth time in six years – now adding a second office to accommodate its growing team of 220 clinical and office workers.

The not-for-profit business is owned by the GP practices of Sunderland, and exists to help GPs work collectively for the benefit of patients and staff. By pooling resources and expertise via the alliance, they can offer services to patients that could not be delivered by individual GP surgeries.

Chief executive Jon Twelves, said: “We don’t take anything away from the personal care patients get from their own GPs but by working together we can offer extra services such as out-of-hours clinics in convenient locations across the city.

“Our model of care really came into its own during the pandemic because we were able to draw on this experience to quickly mobilise vaccine clinics in easy-to-reach places.

“This way of working as a GP federation is fairly unusual and in this case it may well have saved lives because it meant Sunderland had quicker protection against the virus and a higher take up of the vaccine.”

The alliance’s latest expansion into a new 2,500 sq ft office more than doubles the space it occupies at the BIC and has been driven by a new focus by NHS England to increase the services offered by GPs.

Jon added: “One of our key new services is social prescribing, a service that helps provide solutions for social problems that might otherwise present as medical issues, such as anxiety or social isolation.

“We’re also employing more pharmacists to help people on complex medication regimes, freeing up precious GP time to spend with patients.

“The BIC has been very flexible when it comes to accommodating our growing team with easy come, easy go terms and plenty of options for space. The team has worked with us in a really supportive way from day one.”

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