UPDATED: Merger of two Fenland doctors' surgeries could bring better services
Two Fenland GP surgeries are merging with a group of other practices in Peterborough and Huntingdon in a bid to beat recruitment and finance issues.
The Cornerstone Practice in March and the Trinity Surgery in Wisbech are following the lead of the Clarkson Surgery in Wisbech, which merged with the Octagon Medical Practice in January.
Both the Cornerstone and the Trinity Surgeries have held patient consultations on the proposal in the past couple of weeks, with the Wisbech practice already joining Octagon at the beginning of this month and Cornerstone set to join next month.
Octagon was formed in September 2017 with five practices and currently there are 13 surgeries under its umbrella. However, it hopes that number will increase.
Posting on their websites both the March and Wisbech practices explained the background to the move which will see no reduction in staff or services for patients.
Both add it is hoped the move will lead to more appointments being available but this is not guaranteed. It is also hoped to develop new services which may be offered locally.
Sarah Fox, practice manager at Cornerstone said: ""The Cornerstone Practice has always been committed to providing high quality patient centred care.
"We have struggled over the last few years with recruitment and other additional pressures as all GP surgeries have, however, these factors seem to have a bigger impact in more rural settings.
"We are excited to start working within the Octagon Group as this will allow stability and sustainability for the practice going forward, not only with recruitment, but also retention of staff due to better career prospects as well as centralising costs, which allows more money to be invested in the service provision. Our patient feedback meetings were positive, with support for the merger."
Dr Gangadharan, on behalf of the partners of Trinity Surgery, said: "We at Trinity Surgery believe in giving our patients the best possible clinical care. With increasing demands and reduced work force in terms of GP numbers in Wisbech, we feel that joining a larger practice to enable us to continue to provide high quality care is the best way forward.
"We believe that with the support of Octagon Medical Practice we can improve patient access to include evenings and weekend opening times and also provide better opportunities for patients to see specialists at a facility closer to them.
"The decision to merge with Octagon Medical Practice was taken with the Patients’ best interests at heart and to make Trinity Surgery more sustainable and enable improvements in the future."
Alan Ball, managing partner from Octagon, added: "The partners at Octagon were delighted to have Cornerstone and Trinity join the partnership.
"Our ethos and goal is to provide long term care to all our patient population, to work with the practices and patients to provide much needed services for the area, and to deliver long term security for the provision of primary care.
"With so many practices closing, and facing closure, we believe that working together as a single Partnership is the best way to deliver this"
Patients can also visit the Octagon website to view questions and answers: www.octagonmedicalpractice.co.uk