Merger of two Saffron Walden GP surgeries to create ‘super’ practice

Under the proposed merger, Rectory Practice, Castle Street, would serve current Borough Lane patient

Under the proposed merger, Rectory Practice, Castle Street, would serve current Borough Lane patients as well as those from the existing practice, until a more permanent location is found in Saffron Walden. - Credit: Archant

Patients in Saffron Walden and surrounding villages could benefit from extended GP opening hours and improved services as early as April next year – if a merger of two medical practices goes ahead.

Residents are being asked for their feedback on the proposed formation of ‘Crocus Medical Practice’ – a move which would integrate Borough Lane Surgery, which also has premises in Great Chesterford, with the Rectory Practice on Castle Street.

A combined 12,000 patients are on the books at the two medical practices.

Under the proposal, Borough Lane Surgery would be closed, and the building either sold or leased out. Patients who currently go to Borough Lane Surgery’s Saffron Walden premises would instead be seen at the Rectory Practice on a temporary basis from April 1 2015, before a “purpose-built” site in the town is located within the next five years.

Borough Lane practice manager Linda Ainscough explained the reasons for the proposed merger to the Reporter.

She said: “As one practice, we will be in a much stronger position to face future challenges, and that’s why we are working together.

“All the existing patient services will continue but with the advantages of extra extended opening hours, additional choice of doctors and nurses and patients of both practices able to be seen at either premises.”

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Extended opening hours, already in place at Borough Lane Surgery on Tuesday evenings and at Rectory on Friday mornings, would be pooled at the new practice, as well as the available clinicians – meaning patients should have an increased choice in making appointments.

Wazz Mughal, 33, of Rookery Close, Great Chesterford, a member of the patient participation group at Borough Lane Surgery, welcomed the proposal.

He said: “The opinion of the group is that it is a very good thing. The number of patients to doctors isn’t increasing, so there’s no detriment there.

“What will change is that patients will have access to nurses and doctors with different specialities.”

In a statement, GP partners, Dr Philip Sills and Dr Jenni Lindford, said: “General Practices in Saffron Walden, like others across the country, are facing a number of major challenges. By being proactive and introducing changes now, we will be in a much stronger position to meet those challenges as they arise.

“Before we proceed, it is obviously important that we hear the thoughts of our patients and understand their views.”

An open public meeting, to give people a chance to have their say on the proposed merger, will be held on Monday, December 8 at 7.45pm at St Mary’s church parish rooms.