Four Brent surgeries to merge into two as health chiefs insist care won’t suffer
- Credit: Archant
Four Brent GP practices will merge into two, leading a patient group to warn care could suffer.
Buckingham Road Surgery in Harlesden is closing so it can move and merge with the Law Medical Group Practice (LMGP) on Sunday.
The LGMP has two sites in Wrottesley Road, Kensal Green, and Harrow Road, Wembley.
The application was accepted at the NHS England and Brent Clinical Commissioning Group meeting in December.
Robin Sharp, chairman of Brent Patient Voice, a patient participation group, said: “People like to stay with the GP they know if they’re happy with them and they don’t welcome lots of change or having to travel further for consultations.”
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A further merger on the same day will see Cricklewood Broadway Surgery and Windmill Medical Practice in Kilburn merge into the new Mapesbury Medical Group, but neither will move or close.
Mr Sharp added: “There is a general pressure from NHS England for mergers and larger practices and we’re pretty cautious about that. Being bigger isn’t necessarily better.
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“Most of the ideas coming from the top are to try to save funds but the risk is that patient care will suffer and the long-term relationships between qualified GPs and their patients will be whittled away through other people being involved.”
A spokeswoman for Brent’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – the GP bosses who decide what services to offer Brent – said the new surgery for patients of Buckingham Road Surgery would be only a stone’s throw away and that GPs would move with it.
She said: “Patients were involved in the decision-making process and they were really happy with what we proposed.
“It’ll create a larger workforce, which means better facilities and, really importantly, frees up more time for the GPs to see the patients.”
The decision to merge Buckingham Road Surgery into the LMGP was made after one its GP partners, Dr Rajkumar George, announced his retirement.
It will allow longer opening hours and more clinic times, including bookable walk-ins and urgent telephone consultations,
She added: “Dr George’s retirement was a really good opportunity for us to have a look at how we could best deliver our service.
“Our biggest driver is to prevent people from getting worse and going to A&E by making the service more flexible and open.”