Riversdale Relocation Plans Update from the CCG February 2020


Community urged to have their say on Riversdale Surgery proposed relocation

NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) Primary Care Commissioning Committee met yesterday (12 February) in public to discuss the proposed relocation of Riversdale Surgery in Wylam to their branch site in the Oakland’s Health Centre in Prudhoe.

The practice submitted a formal application to the Committee who heard the details of the proposal. The move would allow the practice to operate from a modern, fit for purpose primary care centre and enable clinical and community services to run from one central location.

As part of their application to relocate, the practice also shared with the Committee the feedback from their patient and public engagement which raised concerns over the withdrawal of services from the Wylam site,  and difficulties with transport and accessibility.

The CCG noted these concerns and has agreed to undertake further engagement to hear the views of the local community and assess the impact of the proposed relocation.

Three drop in sessions have been arranged in Wylam as follows:


  • Wednesday 19 February, 3 – 5pm  St Oswins Church Hall, Wylam
  • Monday 24 February, 1 – 3pm  St Oswins Church Hall, Wylam
  • Thursday 27th February Wylam Library, Falcon Centre Wylam 5 -7pm


Further information on the next steps will be provided as soon as they are available.







Riversdale Relocation Plans Update February 2020

As the next stage in our proposals to relocate our GP services to one site at Oaklands Health Centre, the practice has now submitted its business plan to the Primary Care Commissioning Committee. This follows on from our recent period of re engagement and information gathering.

We understand that the committee sits on February 12th 2020. We will feed back any decisions made following this meeting.

The practice are very grateful for the many contributions made by patients and stakeholders during  our recent engagement period.

Dr J Knapton, Dr A Miller and Dr R Donaldson

Riversdale Relocation Plans Update January 2020

The Practice are sad to announce that Dr Knapton has decided to retire from the Practice at the end of April 2020, after 35 years of service. As Dr Knapton is the remaining property owner of the Practice, this will mean that our proposed plans to relocate to one site are even more pressing, as on Dr Knapton’s retirement the premises at Wylam will no longer be available for the Practice to use in the longer term.

We have recently had some timely news from Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and we are now pleased to share their decision on our proposals that, in principle, the CCG supports the proposed relocation to the Oaklands site at Prudhoe. This will mean that the Riversdale partnership can continue to provide healthcare to all our patients in the area.

Moving to more modern premises at Oaklands will have many benefits for the Practice population and we hope that it will also allow long-term sustainability in attracting new Doctors and staff in the future.

We now plan to carry out further engagement with the local community and relevant stakeholder groups to inform and discuss the next steps of the process.

Thank you to all those  patients who took the time to complete our recent Survey Monkey. your helpful comments and concerns will be collated and fed back.

Overall, as a Practice, we feel very positive about the proposed relocation to one site as it will provide a sustainable, long-term base for us to continue to deliver good quality General Practice services from.

We thank you for your support.
Dr J Knapton, Dr A Miller and Dr R Donaldson

April 2019 Update on Progress.

No further substantial progress on our application.

January 2019. Update on progress.

We are still waiting for essential financial information to be provided by NHS Property services so we are unable to progress our application further at this stage

September 2018 Update on progress.

We have been contacted by Wylam Surgery Users’ Group seeking updated information about our proposed relocation. 

Progress has been limited over the summer as we are still waiting for essential information from NHS Property Services regarding the proposed use of the building at our Oaklands site. We can not progress with our application until we receive this information.

We are hopeful that we can finalise negotiations with NHS Property Services over the proposed accommodation at Oaklands Medical Centre to incorporate into our business case for submission, anticipated to be in October.

Further information will be posted here as it becomes available.


We are still in the process of finalizing our application and business case to relocate services to a single site at Oaklands Medical Centre.

Thank you to those patients who have responded to recent independent surveys seeking the views of local patients arranged by Healthwatch and other interested groups.  We are aware that the findings of these surveys have been forwarded to the CCG and NHS England and will be taken into account in arriving at a final decision. 


The initial stage of the application process to close the surgery, which required the practice to enter a period of engagement with the 3,000 patients registered at Riversdale, is now complete. The practice would like to take the opportunity to thank patients who provided comments and also those people who took the time last week to attend the public meeting convened by the local Labour Party. The practice would like to assure patients that all comments will be taken into consideration and incorporated into the application.

Engagement versus consultation

It is worth highlighting that, at this early stage, no final decision has been taken. It will take some months for the application to go through the robust scrutiny processes of both NHS England and the final decision making body that is NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). It should also be noted that the responsibility to engage with patients is on the practice and not the other organisations involved in the application process. Also, while the practice will take all feedback received into account, there is no requirement to conduct a formal period of public consultation.

What next?

The practice will continue to progress its application. It will now develop a full business case outlining patient feedback and any actions proposed by the practice in response to the issue raised, the case for change (including perceived benefits for patients), the financial implications and potential timescales. This will be submitted to NHS England who will assess the potential impact on other healthcare providers and whether there would still be sufficient GP services to meet local needs both now and in the future.

Once the business case is sufficiently developed the practice’s application will be discussed with Northumberland County Council’s (NCC) Primary Care Applications Working Group. This is attended by elected member of the council who are also members of the Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The Applications Working Group will also scrutinise the application and can decide either to support it or refer to the scrutiny committee.

Once the application has gone through the levels of scrutiny outlined above a detailed report will be prepared for the CCG’s Primary Care Commissioning Committee, the committee given responsibilty by NHS England to make the the final decision. This committee includes officers and Lay Governors from the CCG and representatives from NHS England, the Local Medical Committee, Healthwatch Northumberland and NCC. This committee will consider all aspects of the practice’s application, including the views of the Applications Working Group and, if required, the scrutiny committee. The practice will be required to attend the committee meeting to answer questions.

It can be seen from the above that the practice application undergoes an extensive period of rigorous scrutiny and assurance. This may take some months to complete before a final decision is made by the CCG. In the meantime the practice will provide updates on progress on this webpage at each stage of the process.

June 2017

Patients who attend our Wylam Premises will now be aware of our proposals to relocate services to a potentially newly refurbished suite of rooms at our Oaklands site in Prudhoe.

We propose that the new site at Oaklands will be open 5 days a week with no reduction in the service that we currently offer.

We have written to all households that currently use our Wylam site.

Dear Patients, Important information about Riversdale Surgery, Wylam

We are writing to let you know about the proposed changes to our Wylam site at 51 Woodcroft Road, Wylam and would like your views and feedback. We are proposing to close the Riversdale Surgery site at Wylam. All services delivered from this surgery would be relocated to newly developed premises at our branch site, Oaklands Health Centre, Front Street, Prudhoe.

For some time, the partners have been aware that the premises are becoming unfit for the purpose of providing modern day GP services. The current building at Woodcroft Road is a 3 storey converted Victorian semi-detached house. Staff and patients have to operate on 3 levels, there is a lack of space to integrate community staff, and there is no parking provision with associated traffic issues in Woodcroft Road. Recent CQC (Care Quality Commission) inspections have flagged issues that primarily relate to the ageing and non-purpose built structure of the building and it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain the practice to ever tighter Health and Safety and Fire Safety standards on two sites.

In order to allow the continuation of Riversdale as a well-established practice, we have also had to consider succession planning in order to attract new Doctors to work in the practice in the future. The position across the country is that new GPs are not attracted to buying in to premises, especially old buildings that are no longer appropriate. Difficulties in future recruitment would significantly challenge the future viability of the whole practice. In order to provide our patients with a modern primary care service, we have considered a number of options but we see the closure of our Woodcroft Road site as the only viable option to enable us to maintain the current partnership and provide safe and effective modern day general practice to all of our patients.

The Oaklands site has space to develop a new, purpose built high quality premises which would make sure our patients have access to up-to-date facilities whilst being able to consult the same members of the team who will all transfer to the Oaklands site. The only service which will cease will be our dispensing service (see frequently asked questions below).

We appreciate that the proposal to close may be concerning and your views are important to us. We are therefore undertaking a period of engagement to seek your feedback on the proposals. We are working with various statutory bodies and Northumberland Clinical Commissioning group will make the final decision.

We have included below a list of frequently asked questions which we hope will answer any queries you may have. We will be updating these on a regular basis and they will be available on our website.

Frequently asked questions

We would like to thank everyone who has responded to our letter so far. We are grateful for the kind words, comments and expressions of thanks from many patients. It is fair to say t y in the surgery?  It isn't too bad.

Riversdale premises is privately owned and is not an NHS  property.

One of the property-owning partners has already retired from the practice and wishes to realize the investment made in the building over many years. With other partners approaching retirement age we are trying to future proof the practice and avoid the situation where future doctors cannot be attracted to work here because of the need for potentially large sums of money to invest in premises which might be unsuitable for purpose in the future.

The practice building has become an increasingly difficult place from which to operate modern day primary care. It was never designed for our purposes and has actively curtailed our ability to provide wider team based services. It is multi-level giving access issues to disabled patients and staff. There is no designated parking space which results in congestion in a minor residential street.

Our other main aim with the relocation is to ensure that we can attract future new GPs without the burden of having to invest in potentially outdated practice premises. If we fail to do this and plan for the future the future of the partnership as it is at present may well be at risk.

Ideas suggested such as the installation of a lift and increased parking are simply not feasible in a Victorian building in a busy residential street.

Any setting for primary care (GP) services must be fit for purpose and inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) whose standards are not unreasonably quite exacting, so it would not be feasible to operate from the Library or Institute.

Why didn't the practice seek to relocate into the old Wylam Garage?

The practice has been working over a period of time with NHS Property Services and NHS England to try to identify a suitable site. No alternative sites were suitable at the time of our consideration.  Given that there is space to develop at Oaklands Health Centre, a decision was taken to focus on those premises.

Why were letters sent to households rather than individuals?

Rather than replicate identical letters, it was decided to save resource by sending out letters to affected households as advised during our consultations with the CCG and NHS England.

Any feedback can be sent to NORCCG.riversdale@nhs.net or by completing a comment card in the practice by 11/9/2017.

Yours sincerely Drs Knapton, Miller and Donaldson Partners