First phase of Lancaster and Morecambe GP merger launches

Heysham Primary Care Centre.
Heysham Primary Care Centre.

Doctors’ surgeries across Morecambe and Lancaster officially launched a merger today, Friday April 1, under a plan which forms the area’s first ever ‘super practice’.

The new group – to be known as Bay Medical Gropup following a staff competition – will serve 62,000 patients in the district.

Coastal Medical Group – which includes Morecambe Health Centre, West End Surgery and Heysham Primary Care Centre – has joined forces with Lancaster’s Meadowside Medical Practice and Owen Road Surgery – which had previously joined together with Strawberry Gardens surgery in Heysham – as well as Westgate Medical Practice to become the largest GP practice in the district.

The partnership will take place on a phased basis, with Coastal Medical Group and Meadowside Medical Practice merging on April 1 and Westgate

and Owen Road joining at a later date.

The merger was announced in February and patients were urged to give feedback on how well their own surgeries worked.

An update on the Coastal Medical Group website said: “The four practices have been working hard behind the scenes to progress the merger and a great deal of work has taken place around financial systems, legal frameworks, information management & technology and people.

“We will start to look at the way we deliver our services at these two sites with a view to seeing how we might work more closely together.

“We have experienced a great deal of collaboration and enthusiasm from colleagues across all the practices.

“Patients will not experience any change to how we deliver our services.

“We will, however, over time and as we merge each computer database, review patient services with a view to sharing best practice across all sites that the new partnership will be working from.”

A new website for the partnership will also be launched in the future.

Coastal GP partner Dr Alex Gaw said: “The NHS is facing significant, well-publicised, challenges with hospitals struggling and GP surgeries under threat of closure.

“As a group of local GPs we are committed to continuing to play a central role in looking after and caring for our patients and their families.

“The partners at Coastal all feel the only way we can achieve this is by working more closely with our colleagues to improve and develop services and attract new doctors to the area.

“This will also allow us to better develop relationships with our community and secondary care colleagues under Better Care Together for the benefit of ourpatients.”

Fellow GP partner Dr Andy Maddox said: “By merging together we believe we will be well positioned to build a GP service that will be able to cater for the increasing complex needs of our patients and be sustainable for the future and provide career opportunities and development for staff.

“We all feel this is the right decision and we are all very committed and enthusiastic about the opportunities it offers for the future.”