Two GP practices in 'soft merger'

Drs Cafferty and CopsonTwo GP practices in Norwich will be forming a closer working partnership, for the benefit of both patients and their staff teams.

Newmarket Road Surgery and St Stephens Gate Medical Practice have begun a ‘soft merger’ which means they can share accommodation, staff, services and data systems. It also means staff at both sites will have access to each other’s patient lists to enable them to share NHS services at both practices.

This has already been approved by NHS Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS England which means the practices can now begin a consultation with their patients.

The practices have both worked with their Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) in the run up to the ‘soft merger’ and have now created an online survey for registered patients to complete if they wish to do so, at

Dr Steven Copson from Newmarket Road Surgery said: “We are very pleased to have reached the stage where we can now ask our patients for their views. They are really well placed to tell us what they want in the future and to make any suggestions.”

Dr Tess Cafferty from St Stephens Gate Medical Practice said: “We can reassure our patients that this soft merger will bring new strengths for all of us. By sharing some systems and room space we can continue to provide our services in the face of growing demand.

The reason for the ‘soft merger’ is to pool resources. Doctors, nurses and both practice teams are getting busier, so by sharing what they do, they can manage increasing demand better.

For now there is no change: Patients will still be able to ring the same numbers to call the surgery for emergencies, appointments, visit requests and all other queries. In time they may be able to offer patients opportunities to see different people and access different services.