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​Proposal to merge four GP practices gets go-ahead


A proposal by four Southwark GP practices to merge into one partnership has been approved by healthcare commissioners, creating London's biggest GP practice. 

The Aylesbury Partnership, Bermondsey and Lansdowne Medical Mission, Princess Street Group Practice and the Walworth Partnership already serve over 60,000 patients across eight sites. The aim of the merger is to give patients a better service, develop new ways of working while holding on to the good values of traditional general practice and to prepare for population growth in the area.

NHS England (London) and NHS Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) approved the plan yesterday (Thursday 17 March). It means registered patients will benefit from:

  • a larger team working together to maintain and improve the quality of care
  • more choice about where to access care
  • a wider range of services at one or more local surgeries
  • the shared skills and expertise of staff from all four practices  
  • development of an improved appointment system that will, over time, offer many ways to contact and access the service
  • continuity of care has been prioritised - people can expect to go to the same surgery for their appointments and receive the same medical care they are used to
  • more co-ordinated care that draws on skills from all practices to develop teams to support people with long-term and complex conditions.

The arrangement will also benefit practice staff as duplication in administrative processes is reduced, better IT systems are introduced and greater development and training opportunities are available across a bigger team.

Dr Amr Zeineldine, GP at the Aylesbury Partnership, said: "Practices have been speaking to patients and staff about the proposal since January and it has their support. 

"By working together we can continue to give patients the personal service they want from their practice but also offer them a wider range of services.

"Our rising local population goes hand in hand with increased patient demand so it makes sense to combine our efforts to ensure we can deliver high quality care in the long-term."

A spokesperson for NHS England (London) and NHS Southwark CCG, said: "As the first port of call for the vast majority of people in need of healthcare, it is our absolute priority to make sure local GP services can deliver the best possible care to a growing number of patients. This positive move demonstrates that Southwark practices are leading the way in planning innovative ways to give patients a better service."

The merger has been considered by Southwark Council's Overview and Scrutiny Committee and is expected to complete this summer.  Service improvements will be introduced over a two year period.  All registered patients at the practices involved will receive more information in the months leading to the merger.