A MEDICAL group has marked its first anniversary following the successful merger of three GP practices.
East Durham Medical Group celebrated the 12 month milestone at the group’s headquarters in Wingate, County Durham.
The merger, supported by NHS Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), saw The Carodoc Practice, Wingate, join Shinwell Medical Group, Horden and Phoenix Medical Group, Thornley, to provide care for 18,500 patients across six sites in Wingate, Horden, Peterlee, Wheatley Hill, Thornley and Kelloe.
Dr Dagny Samuel, of The Carodoc Surgery, Wingate, said: “Only a year ago we were three different practices facing very uncertain futures for different reasons.
“The CCG’s merger support package acted as a real catalyst to enable the transformation of these practices into the successful and sustainable East Durham Medical Group.
The practice merger forms part of a wider move across the country where GPs, who have traditionally worked as individual Practices, are developing larger primary care networks to provide greater economies of scale, employ and share new clinical roles, reduce the burden of administration and focus on spending more time with patients
“The increase to our clinical workforce and support from the CCG has totally transformed the practice over the last 12 months,” said Dr Samuel.
“We have employed our own specialist diabetes nurse, developed an advanced nurse practitioner peer group, been involved in teaching 1st year to 5th year medical students; become a training practice for GP registrars, enrolled two members of staff onto a new GP assistant course and from October 1 entered into a partnership with the local GP federation to staff and manage the local Primary Care Service Hub for extended GP hours.
Chief Officer of NHS Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield Clinical Commissioning Group Dr Stewart Findlay added: “ The future of General Practice will be practices working on a bigger scale either by merging or by working together within their Primary Care Networks. As a CCG we have a support package to help practices merge and I am delighted to see how successful this has been for the new East Durham Medical Group.