Over 17,000 patients could be affected by GP surgery merger

Central Surgery

Central Surgery - Credit: Archant

Two Gorleston GP practices, with more than 17,000 patients between them, are to merge under one roof.

The Central Surgery and the Family Healthcare Centre will combine and work together as the Central Healthcare Centre from June 6.

Both practices will operate from Central Surgery's existing building, at Sussex Road in Gorleston, with all staff moving to the site. The move is an attempt to improve the services which patients currently receive, in more modern and spacious surroundings.

The practices also hope to establish a branch surgery when the new primary care centre at Shrublands in Gorleston is developed, to give patients a choice of where they are seen.

Dawn Jermany, practice manager at Central Surgery, said: 'We would like to assure our patients that they will continue to receive the same level of care when this move is complete.

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'Working together will reduce our use of locum doctors, which means patients will be provided with greater continuity of care, and will also ensure we are able to continue recruiting new high calibre doctors to serve our patients.'

Currently, the Central practice has three partners and one-long term locum on staff, while the Family Centre in East Anglian Way, has one partner and three long-term locums -– one of which is the same locum who works at Central.

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However both practices have recently also employed advanced nurse practitioners and nurse practitioners to help care for patients, which means the new practice will have 10 clinicians who can see and treat patients plus four practice nurses.

Currently the Central Surgery has 12,334 patients registered and Family Health has 5,193.

All the patients registered with Family Health are expected to move over unless they personally decide against it.

One concern raised has been the space for parking at the site.

One person, who wishes not to be named and is registered to the Central Surgery, said: 'I am a bit surprised that they have decided to bring the Family Health Centre to combine with the Central Surgery.

'There isn't a massive amount of parking space, and I just hope that the added patients won't affect waiting times to book an appointment.'

An open day for patients at the new Central Healthcare Centre, in Sussex Road, Gorleston will take place on Saturday, May 21. Patients are welcome to drop in anytime between 9am and 1pm.

The building currently housing the Family Healthcare Centre, in East Anglian Way, will be returned to its owners.

Dr Keivan Maleki at the Family Healthcare Centre, said: 'The Central Surgery has ample room to accommodate our staff and patients, which means we will be able to offer services from large, purpose-built premises.

'Merging will also enhance the services we provide to all our patients by bringing together the knowledge and experience of all the clinicians from both the Central Surgery and Family Healthcare Centre.

'We are grateful to NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG for their help and support throughout this process, and for their hard work in identifying a new site for the primary care centre. We hope that we can still be part of those exciting plans by opening a branch surgery once the Shrublands development opens to further improve choice and flexibility for our patients.'

Linda Clemmit and Graham Dunhill, chairs of the patient participation groups for both surgeries, also released a statement stating that they welcome the merger and believe the merger will help improve the patient experience.

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