Two Sunderland GP practices are to merge, health chiefs have confirmed.
The neighbouring Church View Medical Centre and Colliery Medical Group care for a total of 11,000 patients, but the current providers announced in March that they will step back from providing the services at the end of September.
Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has said that the new long-term provider for Church View and Colliery patients will be the Sunderland GP Alliance, which is a partnership of 42 GP practices in the Wearside area.
The new service will operate at Silksworth Health Centre, the current base of Colliery Medical Group, from October 1.
The Church View Medical Centre premises – which is about 100 yards away – will close.
Dr Ian Pattison, a GP and chairman of Sunderland CCG, said: “This is great news for patients, who can continue to use high quality GP services at a convenient location in Silksworth.
“Both practices were relatively small, and it can be hard to attract a provider for a small patient list.
“By merging the two contracts, we have secured a strong, locally-based provider.
“With a larger list and one building, the new provider can make more efficient use of funding, and patients will benefit from that.
“Patients can continue to use their current practice until September 30, and their registrations will transfer automatically the following day.
“There is no need to take any action, though patients can choose a different practice if they prefer.”
Silksworth councillor Phil Tye, who said he had been inundated with calls from concerned patients when the possibility of a merger was first mooted earlier this year, has welcomed the news.
“I think this is the only move that could done and although we would have preferred to keep both practices open, this will have to do.
“It’s yet to be proved that the building has the capacity to cover both patient lists, but we will see in time.
“I though the way it was first announced was wrong but since then it has been done right, with residents kept in the loop.
“I’m also pleased that it’s Sunderland GP Alliance who will be running the sites as they now the city, the people and the demographics.
“I look forward to working with them.”
Jon Twelves, chief executive of Sunderland GP Alliance, said: “As a group of local GPs, we are pleased that residents can continue to see a doctor in their local surgery.
“We’re looking forward to getting to know our new patients and building a long and successful partnership with the community.”
Those people who have questions about the new service can contact the Sunderland GP Alliance team on 0191 516 6076 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.