Corby-based Lakeside Healthcare has announced it is merging with three GP practices in Cambridgeshire, creating a ‘super-practice’ serving more than 150,000 patients.
Eaton Socon Health Centre and Cedar House Surgery in St Neots and Yaxley Group Practice are to merge with Lakeside Healthcare, which operates surgeries in Corby, Kettering, Brigstock, Rushden and Oundle as well as Stamford in South Lincolnshire.
The merger will further expand the biggest single GP partnership in the NHS.
And the ‘super-practice’ will serve the healthcare needs of more than 150,000 patients across Northamptonshire, Rutland, Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire.
Lakeside Healthcare bosses say they are building a new model of primary care that is better able to thrive in the difficult times ahead and bucks the trend affecting many GP practices that are facing uncertain futures and possible closures.
The type of model Lakeside Healthcare is delivering is a model that the Government is actively supporting.
Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health speaking about challenges in general practice to the Royal College of GP, said: “The truth is because we have underinvested in general practice over decades we have made it much, much harder for you [GPs] to deliver the continuity of care I think is part of the magic of general practice.
“It is not inevitable, but there is a risk the traditional family doctor could die out if the underlying problems, such as funding and workloads, are not addressed.”
The Lakeside Healthcare model addresses the issues identified by Mr Hunt head-on.
Dr Peresh Gela, partner of Yaxley Group Practice, said: “As a successful practice we wanted to ensure the continuity of services for our patients.
“By merging with Lakeside, we are far more certain of a bright future and this is a great thing for those we serve.”
Prof Robert Harris, partner and CEO of Lakeside Healthcare Group, said: “We are hugely excited about the prospects for primary care provision across our wider region.
“The newly joined practices bring more talented doctors, nurses and other staff to the Lakeside Group meaning our ‘family doctor model’ has a very bright future indeed.
“Quite simply, this is great news for patients.”
Lakeside Healthcare was previously appointed as one of only 14 ‘multi-specialty community provider vanguards’ across the country by NHS England and the Government to develop new models of care.
It is rolling out a primary care home model that brings together staff in community-based roles from acute hospitals, mental health providers as well as the voluntary sector.
This is proven to be a better service for patients, especially for older patients with long term conditions.
Lakeside Healthcare bosses have said that no existing clinics or premises will be closed and that with more finance available, there are plans for additional investment in premises, staff and technology and more home visiting services for the housebound, which should benefit patients going forwards.