Three primary care practices in Northumberland have merged to create the largest family doctor-led medical group in the North East.
The Wellway, Lintonville and Brockwell Medical Groups have joined forces to create Valens Medical Partnership, which now looks after the healthcare needs of around 50,000 people.
All of their eight existing premises – in Morpeth, Pegswood, Lynemouth, Ashington, Newbiggin, Cramlington, Seaton Sluice and Seaton Delaval – are remaining open.
The new practice, which is led by 18 GP partners, has about 200 people working across these sites.
It has been created to widen the range of services available to patients, make it easier for them to access specialist care and take advantage of opportunities available to larger-scale practices under the developing NHS primary care management regime.
The merger was made possible by funding from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, which also provided specialist financial advice tailored to the individual practices.
Michaela Green, group director at Valens Medical Partnership, said: “All our partners are passionate about the NHS and about providing patients with the best possible standards of care in our communities.
“Creating this expanded practice was viewed by all of them as the best way of ensuring this in the evolving primary care environment, and to proactively deliver more of the services that our patients require to keep them well within their local communities.
“We’ve taken the time to look at how other larger-scale practices operate in other parts of the country and have co-opted the best of the working practices and administrative arrangements into the way that the Valens Medical Partnership will deliver care to its patients.
“On a day-to-day basis, it’s very much business as usual. Our patients will still see the same GPs in the same locations, but they now have access to a much wider range of primary care expertise and will see the services that we are able to provide increase in the coming months.”
Sintons Law Firm and RMT Accountants & Business Advisors worked with the three practices on the logistical side of the merger, which had been under discussion for more than a year.
Maxine Pott – director at RMT Healthcare, the specialist medical division of RMT Accountants & Business Advisors – said: “Primary care practices need to meet the twin challenges of growing patient demand and the ever-changing administrative environment in which they need to be delivered.
“The practices have taken a progressive approach to ensuring they can meet these challenges in the best way possible.”