Health bosses back plan to merge two GP practices that serve thousands of patients

The NHS must aim for sufficiency, says Melody Redman.The NHS must aim for sufficiency, says Melody Redman.
The NHS must aim for sufficiency, says Melody Redman.
Two GP practices serving nearly 8,000 patients are set to merge after plans were given the go ahead by health bosses.

Earlier this year, an application was lodged to merge Shotton Medical Practice and Station Road Practice in Shotton Colliery.

Due to one practice partner’s plans to retire in 2019, a bid was launched to rebrand the two surgeries under the name Bevan Medical Group.

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In a business case, the practices said the merger would “better absorb sickness and absence” and potentially allow longer opening hours in future.

The primary care commissioning committees of NHS Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield and North Durham CCGs heard details of the application.

This included both practices sharing the same area and using the same community nursing teams, with the merger aiming to increase appointment choices and the future sustainability of healthcare in the area.

The merger bid followed a period of patient consultation including letters and drop-in sessions – with no objections raised.

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Practice bosses also confirmed that there are no staff redundancies planned with all sites remaining once the merger is fully approved.

Following discussion at the meeting at Fishburn Youth and Community Centre, heath bosses backed the plans.

The decision will see health bosses terminate the Station Road contract, leaving the contract remaining for Shotton Medical Centre.

Around 7,726 patients currently use the two practices which are separated by a distance of 0.6 miles or three minutes by car.

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A CCG report adds: “There may be a minimal financial impact (positive or negative) as a result of the change of the weighted list size of the combined practice.

“Although the impact is not known.”

Both practices have also confirmed a date of January 21 next year to merge their IT systems and patients will be advised of the next steps of the merger.

Once approved, Bevan Medical Group will operate from five sites including  a mixture of practices and branch sites.

This includes Shotton Medical Practice, Station Road Surgery, Easington Medical Centre, Haswell Surgery and Peterlee Health Centre.

Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service