Suffolk Primary Care ‘Mega-Partnership’ to be Toned Down

A so called mega-partnership planned for the Suffolk region has been significantly reduced in size following logistical concerns.

The Suffolk GP Federation undicated that its intention to create a 540,000-patient GP partnership will need to be scaled down massively.

Instead, the federation will form a single partnership with approximately 113,000 patients, which is considered to be much more viable for the organisation.

Known as Suffolk Primary Care, the partnership will still become one of the largest in the UK, comprising 14 GP surgeries located across the county of Suffolk.

Plans are afoot to lunch the new partnership in April 2017.

The new initiative will be the first partnership of this nature launched in the East Anglia region, even though such super-partnerships have emerged in other areas of the country.

There have been a number of other large practice mergers, including a giant East Midlands practice, formed of 62 partners.

Suffolk Primary Care will be backed by local clinical commissioning groups, with £56,000 of the funding having been provided by these organisations.

The new partnership model has been put in place owing to recruitment difficulties in the region, with the newly emerging organisation issuing a statement on the subject.

Suffolk Primary Care noted that “difficulties replacing retiring GPs, a rapid rise in the needs of an ageing population and ongoing concerns around finances have put general practice and the rest of the NHS under great strain” had motivated the realisation of this new structure.

GP practices within the partnership will begin to work in closer collaboration, initially starting with paperwork and administration to help cut duplication.

Early priorities will include offering better career opportunities to help address the current recruitment crisis.

It is also believed that new models of delivering care will also be implemented eventually, with discussions on this matter already underway.

Doctors could then be supported by other healthcare professionals, with pharmacists, physiotherapists and other qualified individuals lending a hand in the everyday work of GPs.

Commenting on the issue, Dr Ed Garratt, chief officer for NHS Ipswich CCG and NHS East and West Suffolk CCGs, believed that Suffolk Primary Care would be an innovative organisation that could be a leader and a example to other NHS regions.

“This partnership strategy is one way of addressing the issues facing GP practices. We will strive to support other practices which, in the future, choose a different model for the positive development of primary care services.”

The practices involved in the Suffolk mega merger are as follows:

– Brandon Medical Practice, Brandon
– Combs Ford Surgery, Stowmarket
– Deben Road Surgery, Ipswich
– Debenham Group Practice, Debenham
– Glemsford Surgery, Glemsford
– Haven Health Surgery, Felixstowe
– Howard House Surgery, Felixstowe
– Lakenheath Surgery, Lakenheath
– Leiston Surgery, Leiston
– Norwich Road Surgery, Ipswich
– Oakfield Surgery, Newmarket
– Orchard House Surgery, Newmarket
– Stowhealth, Stowmarket
– Walton Surgery, Felixstowe

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