(footage, above, courtesy of That's North Yorkshire, Freeview Channel 7)
Four GP practices in Scarborough are set to merge on 9 April, benefiting around 30,000 patients.
Belgrave, Falsgrave, Peasholm and Prospect Road surgeries will come together to launch a new partnership called Central Healthcare.
The new organisation will be headed up by six GP partners, Dr Faisal Baloch, Dr Deepankar Datt, Dr Ron Diffey, Dr Simona Gheorghiu, Dr Ruth Guest and Dr Omnia Hefni.
The four surgeries will continue to operate from their current premises and patients will still be able to see the doctor they’re used to seeing, if they wish.
In time, the merger will mean patients having access to more specialist care in a surgery setting which will be brought about "from enhanced training of staff and alignment of resources to better meet the needs of patients with long term conditions".
Speaking on behalf of the six partners, Dr Ruth Guest said: “This exciting merger will not just allow the four existing practices to survive, but will allow GP services to thrive.
“There’s enormous pressure in primary care at the moment and if we were to continue working as we were, as small isolated practices, we would struggle to provide a high quality, responsive, and safe service to patients.
“This merger gives us the opportunity to provide patients with an enhanced service which makes the best use of equipment, experience, expertise and other resources, while keeping administrative costs down.
“A larger entity should also make it easier to recruit doctors and nurses, with better training and career development on offer.”
The merger of the four practices is not resulting in any redundancies. All existing staff are being retained, though some will be undertaking different roles.
There will be a new website which will make it easier for patients to order medicines and manage appointments. The four existing websites will run alongside this for a short time until they are phased out.
Sally Brown, Primary Care Lead for NHS Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “The merger will bring about significant benefits for patients, including greater access to different health and social care professionals.
“There’s scope for more specialisms to be introduced, as well as additional clinics and appointment slots at evenings and weekends.
“This is a welcome step that secures the provision of GP services in Scarborough.”