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College Practice & Albion Place Merger

The College Practice and Albion Merger – Your Top Questions

As many of you know the NHS, and in particular Primary Care (the services provided by your Practice) is facing increasing demands for its services both locally and nationally, as well as challenges of GP recruitment and retention.

We are planning how best we can continue to provide all of our patients with the best

possible care and the highest-quality services that you rightfully expect from us.

Merging the services of our two local surgeries will help us achieve objectives set out in the NHS Long Term Plan which requires practices to work closer together in order to support each other and collaborate to offer improved patient services and build stronger primary healthcare teams. This will mean that the Practice is better able to respond to the access demands on General Practice and most importantly the health needs of local people.

The following Q&A (questions and answers) fact sheet has been prepared to support patients and provide further information regarding the recent merger of our two GP contracts to become a single practice working over four locations:

  • The College Practice (Main Location)
  • Albion Place (Branch)
  • Allington Surgery (Branch)
  • Balming Surgery (Branch)

We hope that you will find this helpful in understanding what our merger will mean for you as patients.

Q1:  When will the merge to the new Practice take place?

The contract merger took place on 1st July 2022 and the IT Clinical Systems has concluded on 20th September 2022.

Q2: What are the benefits of merging for Patients?

We will be able to maintain long-term provision of high quality care to our patients, invest in innovation and create a stable and sustainable GP Practice fit for the future. The new structure will provide greater flexibility for patients and, over time, aim to provide new and additional patient services that offer access to services normally only available in secondary care, here in your GP Practice, closer to home.

We strongly believe that by merging and pooling our clinical skills and staff, we will be able to offer improved access. It will also help us provide more robust cover for staff holiday leave and sickness.

Patients will see the most appropriate member of the new clinical team which will speed up appointment bookings and there will also be the opportunity to make appointments outside of the normal Monday to Friday hours from 1st October 2022.

Patients will continue to have access to a range of appointments in core hours including GP face to face, telephone consultation, video consultation, eConsult service, Group consultation and Paramedic Home Visiting. This will be in addition to the advice already available by phoning the NHS 111 service or visiting your local pharmacy for minor ailments.

Q3: Will I still be able to make an appointment to see my usual doctor or nurse?

Yes. We very much value all of the one-to-one relationships our patients have with their doctors and nurses. It is therefore expected that the merger will further increase our ability to provide you with continuity of care and access to your usual doctor and/or nurse.

We employ a wide clinical workforce to ensure that you are seen by the most appropriate practitioner and this reduces reliance on locum doctors and provides you with a greater number of highly skilled local doctors, nurses and allied health professionals in the event that your usual doctor or nurse is absent from work.

Q4: Will I still be able to contact my usual surgery in the same way?

Yes. Please continue to contact the surgery using the main College Practice phone number: 01622 752345 or via eConsult which can be accessed via our website ( We will continue to provide daily appointments to see doctors, nurses and other healthcare support workers.

Q5: Will my usual surgery opening times stay the same?

Yes. We are not anticipating any changes to current standard core opening times at any of the Practice locations. We will be adding additional extended access opening times (known as Enhanced Access) starting on Saturday 1st October 2022. This will provide access to more appointments in the early evening and on a Saturday.

Q6: Will there be changes made to the way I book appointments?

No. We are not currently anticipating any changes to the way you book appointments and you will therefore continue to be able to book these in the same way as you normally do.

We will continue to review the availability of appointments regularly to ensure patients have access to the care they need.

We will continue to offer early morning appointments too for working people and commuters.

We will also continue to contact all of our patients who require scheduled vaccinations, chronic disease reviews or routine screening e.g. cervical screening tests, etc.

Q7: Will I have to go to another GP Practice site for consultations and/or treatments?

No. However, you will often be offered access to the first available appointment to meet your clinical need, which on occasions could be at one of our branch locations.  This gives you the choice to take the first appointment or request an appointment at your normal or preferred surgery location or with your normal GP.

We are offering a number of specialist clinics and services including Respiratory/COPD Clinics, Diabetes Management Clinics, Heart Failure Nurse Clinic etc. We have also increased access to Joint Injections, Minor Surgery, Family Planning clinics and are extending access to the Acute Children’s Clinic and Mother & Baby Clinics as the Practice grows. We have commenced Phase 5 of COVID Vaccination this week and have a number of Flu Clinics scheduled. Therefore, you may be asked if you would like to attend one or more locations in order to access more specialised care if this is appropriate and you choose this option.

Q8: Will any service that is currently offered by my usual surgery be removed or stopped?

No. We do not anticipate services being removed or stopped. If anything, we anticipate that this merger will bring about a greater choice of services.

Q9: Will there be any changes to how I access the GP out of hours service?

No. In order to access a GP when your new wider practice is closed, you will still continue to telephone the NHS 111 service and they will either signpost you to the most appropriate service or arrange for you to access a GP.

Q10: Will the current arrangements that I have in place for getting my medicines stay the same?


Q11: Will the merger affect any treatment or medication I am currently receiving either at my usual surgery or any hospital?

No. Any current treatments, medications or investigations will not be affected by the merger.

Q12: Will I need to re-register to become a patient of the single GP Practice? What will happen to my health records?

No, you will not need to re-register or take any action. All Albion Place patients will automatically be merged into The College Practice and your health records will reside within our single patient database. The NHS safeguards in relation to patient confidentiality of information and GDPR continue to remain in place.

Q13: What will happen to my medical records?

When practices merge, the clinical systems in each practice also merge into a single system. This is an automated process and patient information has been transferred automatically. The new single system allows the merged practice to work as a single organisation, providing you with safe and effective care from a wider team.

Q14: Will the new single GP Practice be able to provide new services to Patients?

One of the main reasons to merge and form a larger practice, is for us to be able to expand the services that we are able to provide locally. For example, we can now offer access to a wider portfolio of healthcare professionals e.g. Clinical Pharmacists for medication reviews, Physiotherapists, Advanced Practitioners, Physicians Associates, Complex Care Nurses, Phlebotomists and Paramedics etc.

Q15: How will the new arrangement benefit GPs and Nurses at the Practice?

Our GPs, nurses and healthcare support workers will all have access to a wider pool of clinical knowledge and organisational expertise to draw upon and we will have far greater opportunities to specialise in areas such as diabetes, care of the elderly, palliative care and urgent care access. We anticipate that the current level of administrative tasks that our clinical staff perform will be shared across a wider workforce, therefore allowing them more time to spend on responding to and delivering the clinical care our patients need.

We will be able to better cover any planned or unplanned absences which we hope will alleviate the resulting pressures felt by remaining staff. In addition, we should also be able to reduce our reliance on expensive locum and bank staff.

Our staff will be provided with greater opportunities for enhanced training and career development.

Q16: Online Services and Apps

This is a manual task, the fastest way to resume online access is to download the NHS App, link to The College Practice (G82099) – with postcode of ME15 6SB and verify your identity without the need for additional steps.

If this issue persists, we would suggest deleting your account using the following steps:

  1. Delete your account

Log in to your NHS account via the NHS App or NHS.UK > Select the ‘More’ icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen > ‘Account and settings’ > ‘Manage NHS account’ > ‘Your NHS login details’ > ‘Delete NHS login’.

  • Create a new NHS account

Re-open the NHS App or NHS website (, select Continue with NHS login and follow the on-screen instructions, registering using photo ID or by selecting ‘How to prove who you are without sending a photo of your I.D’ then select ‘Yes – I use online services’. On the following screen, select ‘Yes – I have all 3 details’ and follow the on-screen instructions to complete your registration.

If you do want to continue using any app other than the NHS app, this may cause delay in you being able to regain access to online services.

If you require a linkage key to re-enable access, please use econsult to contact us: using the option: “I want administrative help”, then “Other requests for documents or paperwork” and we will process and respond with the appropriate information enabling you to activate your account.

Additionally, we have assigned a Care Coordinator to assist patients who would like help in accessing service via their normal App.  You can book into a session by contacting the surgery on 01622 752 345.

These sessions will take place on:

Monday 26th September 2022

  • 09:30 – 10:30 
  • 11:00 – 12:30
  • 13:30 – 15:00
  • 15:30 – 17:00

Wednesday 28th September 2022

  • 09:30 – 10:30
  • 11:00 – 12:30
  • 13:30 – 15:00
  • 15:30 – 17:00

Q17: I am concerned that my local practice will lose its identity as part of a bigger organisation.

We are keen to preserve the local face of each surgery under the umbrella of the newly merged contract, retaining their individuality where practicable, sharing the resources of the combined team to establish a stability and sustainability. Being part of a bigger organisation will give the practice a stronger voice in the community and the wider ABC Primary Care Network (PCN).

Q18: How will you provide enough appointments?

The Partners and Management Team regularly review the number of appointments available and accessibility and overall GP and nurse appointments will be enhanced.

Having a wider team and a more diverse skill mix, we are confident that we can meet the demands of general practice at scale.

Q19: Do you have an idea for service improvement?

The merger gives us opportunity to further develop and improve the clinical services we deliver.  With that in mind, we would be most grateful for your feedback on the following two questions:

  1. What is the most important aspect of your GP surgery service that you would most like to preserve?
  2. What would be the one thing you would like to improve the most?

Q20: How can I be involved?

You are invited to join our new Patient Group (PPG). PPGs can bring significant benefits to a GP Practice: improving services, allowing resources to be used more efficiently and, most importantly, developing mutually supportive networks. You would be most welcome to join, please contact us via:

Q21: I have further questions I would like to ask and/or comments I would like to make. How do I do this?

The Practice Manager has regular weekly ‘Speak Up’ sessions. Please contact the surgery and ask for a ‘Speak Up’ appointment. Appointments can be made in person or by telephone.

The Partners will be hosting monthly ‘Listening Event’ sessions, providing patients an opportunity to drop in and raise any questions, queries or concerns.

Alternatively, please provide your feedback via:

Thank you for your understanding during this period.