Hitchin’s Orford Lodge and Courtenay House GP surgeries to merge

Hitchin's Orford Lodge and Courtenay House GP surgeries are to merge. File photo. Picture: Archant

Hitchin's Orford Lodge and Courtenay House GP surgeries are to merge. File photo. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

Two Hitchin general practice surgeries are to merge next month in an attempt to combat national recruitment issues.

Orford Lodge and Courtenay House GP surgeries, which are already run together, will officially become the joint Bancroft Medical Centre on October 2.

GP services will still be provided at each of the two existing surgery buildings, which are both in Bancroft.

Dr Jeremy Cox, principal GP at Orford Lodge, said in a letter to patients that the merger had met with support from patient participation group members.

He told the Comet: “Both practices are long-established general practices in Hitchin.

“The present problems nationally of recruiting staff, particularly GPs, have affected us locally. The practices decided to merge to try and make ourselves more resilient and, hopefully, more likely to recruit.

“The initial merger was at the beginning of May, when the two partnerships merged but continued to run the two practices as separate concerns.

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“The process has gone so well, though, that we have applied for and been given permission to merge the patient lists.

“This will give us greater ability to manage the sites and our workforce to provide the services that we and our patients think are needed.”

Patients registered with either surgery do not need to take any action, and will still use their usual GP services – but they may sometimes be located at the other surgery building. Opening hours will remain the same.

Likewise for the medical staff themselves, Dr Cox said he did not expect a major impact.

“As a doctor it will mean working across two sites, but we have been doing that since May successfully,” he said.

“Otherwise there should be little impact on our clinical staff.

“For our patients, it will mean single access numbers and some services – for example maternity – being provided on just one of the sites.”

An open evening for patients is set to be held at Orford Lodge on Wednesday night, from 5.30pm to 7.30pm. Another is scheduled at Courtenay House from 4.30pm to 6.30pm on Wednesday, September 26.

To find out more, have a look at orfordlodgesurgery.co.uk and courtenayhousesurgery.nhs.uk.

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