A troubled GP surgery has merged with another – forming a super-surgery with a patient list among the largest in Kent.
Albion Place Medical Practice and The College Road Practice in Maidstone joined together on Friday, July 1.
They will serve more than 30,000 people in the town.
Health bosses say the joint practice will have better use of resources across its two sites.
In May, the last period for which NHS data is available, the College Practice had 13 GPs overseeing 18,762 patients – the equivalent of one doctor per 1,443 people, while Albion Place had six for its 11,682 (1,947 patients per GP).
Albion Place has recently been under fire from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for a number of failings.
Following an unannounced inspection 2020 it was revealed half of all telephone calls were going unanswered and some vulnerable patients did not have a named GP to oversee their care.
They also found the practice had issues with processes to keep people safe and complaints were not always managed in a timely manner.
In January this year, Maritime Health Partnership, which runs the ‘good’ rated College Practice, took over the contract to run Albion Place from struggling DMC Healthcare.
As a result, it took on the medical practice’s poor CQC rating.
A spokesman for NHS Kent and Medway said: “College Road and Albion Place practices are run under two separate contracts between the NHS and Maritime Health Partnership.
“By merging these contracts, the practices can achieve more efficient ways of working across the sites and offer patients more services and choice in the future.
“Patients will continue to access their usual practice in the normal way and will be contacted with more details in the next few weeks.”
Staff at both sites are “working hard to ensure patients have access to a high standard of safe, quality care”, the spokesman added.
Despite concerns merging the practices will lead to longer waiting times and a higher GP to patient ratio, NHS Kent and Medway said: “It will enable the practice to make better use of its resources across the two sites.
“It will not affect GP ratios. It is important to remember that not all patients need to see a GP and patients may be offered appointments with other healthcare professionals, such as a nurse, pharmacist or paramedic.
“Together the practices will be able to share additional staff and improve services.”