Tuesday, 4 March 2014

GP merger "will only expand services"

A POSSIBLE merger between Knowle GPs and other borough practices will only expand services for patients, managers have said.

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The Blythe Practice is looking into a possible merger with five other practices that together cover 20 per cent of Solihull’s population.

A practice statement said: “There will be no change to normal GP services.  Over time, we aim to increase the number of services and locations from which you will be able to access primary care services. 

“For example, if one surgery is closed (e.g. for a half-day closing) then in time you may be able to be seen at another of the surgeries instead.”

It said a greater ability to share electronic records and the need the plan across the NHS had led to the change.

Yet it said no services will be reduced and “our intention is progressively to increase the number of services available”.

No premises will close or staff will be made redundant and, in the long-term, patients may be able to visit one of the other five practies, it said.

The others are Meadowside Family Health Centre, Hob’s Moat; Park Surgery, Shirley;
Tanworth Lane Surgery, Shirley; The Village Surgery, Cheswick Green and Yew Tree Medical Centre, Yew Tree Lane.

In a statement, Blythe Practice said: “We have decided to plan to work increasingly closer together so that we can provide as wide a range as possible of high-quality primary care services for our patients.”

It said: “The practices are together actively pursuing options for formalising closer joint working, and this may involve merger at some future date. 

“Before deciding upon this, there will be full consultation with everyone who may be involved – including, patients, practice staff, the public and their representatives.

“In the shorter-term, the practices plan to establish formal arrangements for carrying out joint working – such as: purchasing of goods and material, training, sharing of resources, and also of acting jointly for any future opportunities to bid for new health services in the local area.”

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