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GP co-ops plan mega merger

Twelve GP co-ops in the south of England are considering plans to form a profit-making limited company.

The proposal by Sussex Doctors on Call to merge all co-ops in Kent and Sussex aims to take advantage of the post-contract market for out-of-hours services.

Newdoc Ltd would cover three million patients and would use its own nurse triage service instead of NHS Direct.

Susdoc medical director Dr Stephen Bellamy said: 'We need a large umbrella organisation to allow efficiencies.'

Dr Mark Reynolds, medical director of Maidstone Doctors on Call in Kent, said the plan had 'merits' but certain issues, such as whether GPs' pay would be superannuable, had to be ironed out.

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