Huntingdonshire GP surgeries in discussions over possible merger


- Credit: PA

Four GP surgeries in Huntingdonshire could merge in an effort to improve finances and combat GP recruitment difficulties.

Acorn Surgery, Priory Fields, and the Hicks Group, which runs Charles Hicks Medicine Centre, in Huntingdon, and the Roman Gate Surgery, in Godmanchester, are exploring the possibility of joining forces.

The news was confirmed by senior partners at the surgeries who are currently in fort-nightly talks about the proposal, which could see all practices move under one roof.

In a joint statement, the three practices said: “We can confirm that the three practices are in discussion about a potential merger, however, no decision has been made yet.

“All practices are keeping their respective patient groups and forums up to date with the ongoing discussion and if a merger appears to be the way forward then consultation will start with our patients.”

If the merger is given the go ahead, the new group will serve around 30,000 patients in the district, and would “ensure financial viability through economies of scale, to have more enhanced services and to share specialisms and staff”.

In minutes of the Hicks Group patients’ forum, the practice stated: “The practices may not merge, but they may be under one roof in Huntingdon itself, in which case financial savings will be made.

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“The talks are positive but there is still a long way to go.”

At present there is a disparity in the services that each practice offers and the growth plan of each surgery’s future offering, which is at the fore-front of the talks.

Earlier this year the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group offered the surgeries £30,000 to carry out an options appraisal which included possible premises.

Despite the possibility of all the practices moving in a single building it has been put forward that the Roman Gate Surgery, in Godmanchester, could remain as an individual practice “as it maybe extended to cover the Bearscroft population”.

A survey carried out last year by the Royal College of General Practitioners found that Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will need 132 additional full time GPs by 2020 to meet patient demand, an increase of 26 per cent.