Merger of GP surgeries collapses

Credit: This story was first seen on the Plymouth Herald

The planned merger of two of Plymouth’s largest GP surgeries has reportedly collapsed due to staffing issues, the Plymouth Herald reports.

Beacon Medical Group and Ocean Health were expected to partner up on 1 July to serve a combined total of 60,000 patients. 

Both practices acknowledged in March 2017 that primary care is currently straining to cope with the issues of increasing need for their services and financial constraints, but believed a merger was the best way to offer the kind of GP service that patients expect and need.

However Beacon Medical Group and Ocean Healt have now issued separate statements to announce the merger will not be going ahead.

“You may recall that earlier this year we announced our intention to merge with Ocean Health. Our goal was to establish a larger practice to help strengthen patient services for the long term,” the statement reads.

A spokesperson for Beacon Medical Group said: “Unfortunately the merger will not proceed, primarily because of staffing issues. Both practices are disappointed that their positive efforts to merge have not resulted in success.

“In the meantime, patients will be unaffected by this decision and our practices will continue to run as normal. Patients still have access to our full range of safe and responsive services, based on their clinical needs, delivered by our existing frontline GPs and staff.”

A spokesperson for Ocean Health added: “We continue to explore with NHS England and the Devon Local Medical Committee how we might tackle the underlying pressures we face, in common with other surgeries. In the meantime, patients will be unaffected by this decision. People still have access to our full range of safe and responsive services, based on their clinical needs, delivered by our existing frontline GPs and staff.

“We have introduced a number of new processes in recent months to improve phone access to the surgery. We would stress that urgent appointments are available the same day for anyone who needs them.

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“We would also urge patients to help themselves – and their local NHS – and think about the most appropriate place for treatment. Patients can also do their bit by turning up if they are booked in or letting us know if they can’t make it, because we have got lots of missed appointments. That can be very frustrating for others who have to wait longer as a result.”