Two doctors’ practices have merged to form the biggest in Fylde, with more than 12,000 patients.
The new Parcliffe practice in St Annes is a combination of the Park and Clifton surgeries, which have previously operated side by side at the town’s medical centre and the partners say the decision to combine forces was taken to ensure the long-term survival of the facility.
A message to patients when the merger plan was first suggested said: “General Practice has been under increasing pressures for a number of years and in order to continue to provide the same level of service while also ensuring our long term survival, we have to evolve and changes have to be made.
“While we appreciate the concerns our patients may have about this decision, our commitment is to continue the ethos each surgery has always strived to achieve and we see this as a natural progression of like-minded cultures.”
After a statutory consultation period, which began last summer, the merger was approved by the NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group’s primary care commissioning committee in the autumn and came into effect this week, Former doctors and staff were among the guests at the official launch.
During the consultation process, patients were asked to suggest a name for the new-look practice and the result is a combination of the previous two titles.
The Park and Clifton practices both moved into the medical centre on Durham Avenue on its opening in October 2009 after previously being based on Park Road and Clifton Drive respectively and a factor in the merger idea was the fact that Dr Martin Atherton and Dr Caroline Jepson, long-serving partners of the respective practices, were due to retire.
Dr Aaliya Aziz, a partner in the new practice along with Dr Meenakshi Varia, Dr Sarfaraz Adam and Dr Andrea Tumminaro, said: “Due to the current staffing crisis in the NHS we are unable to recruit doctors who want to be partners and therefore have to look at new ways of working, to ensure that patient care does not suffer and also that practices are not forced to shut down as we have seen in other parts of the country.
“As well as nurses and health care assistants, we will also have advanced nurse practitioners and paramedics to complement our team and are also a training practice for GP trainees and medical students.
“None of the staff have had to be dismissed or let go due to the merger – we have strived to ensure they have been accommodated within the wider merger plan.
“It has given us opportunity to restructure internally taking staff wishes into consideration.
“Nothing goes ahead without consultation with the patients and our patient participation groups and we see this as a very positive way forward.
”We look forward to a very exciting future for the Parcliffe practice.”