PLANS to merge two GP practices in County Durham have been give the go ahead by health bosses.
An application to merge Gardiner Crescent Surgery, Pelton Fell, and Craghead Medical Centre has been approved by NHS England.
The move, which will take effect from October 1st 2020, follows Craghead Medical Centre GP Dr Dhuny’s plans to retire from general practice later in the year.
The newly merged practice will continue to offer medical services at both premises, with GPs working across both sites, helping to increase flexibility and choice for patients.
Lead GP at Gardiner Crescent Surgery, Dr Richard Hall, said: “We are extremely pleased to report that our practice merger has been approved and we can now look forward to realising the benefits.
“We believe that by combining the resources at both surgeries and with the addition of our newly appointed GP, Dr Mirza Hassan, we can offer greater flexibility allowing patients’ more choice and the ability to be seen at their preferred practice.”
Over 4,300 patients’ will have access to the two surgeries, separated by a ten minute drive, with Craghead Medical Centre resuming full-time opening hours each Thursday allowing patients access to even more appointments.
(During Covid-19 practices will continue to run a “total triage” model, enabling patients to be directed to the most appropriate service including telephone, e-mail or video consultations, referrals to external services or if clinically appropriate a face-to-face appointment.)
Joseph Chandy, director of commissioning strategy and delivery, NHS County Durham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “This is great news for the local population and ensures that both practices are still able to deliver services into the future.”
The merger was also welcomed by Durham County Council’s Adults Wellbeing and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, following a formal patient and stakeholder engagement process, as ensuring continued service provision to local patients.
Durham County councillor Linda Marshall and her husband Stanley Town Council deputy mayor David Marshall have been patients at Craghead Medical Centre since it opened in 2001.
“We are both absolutely delighted that the merger between the two practices has been approved,”she added.
“Not only does this ensure that the people of Craghead retain their local surgery, it also means that they are now able to access appointments at both GP practices.”