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UK's largest GP practice in talks to cover 400,000 patients

Exclusive The UK's largest superpractice could reach 400,000 patients by the end of October, according to its GP chair.

Our Health Partnership (OHP), which currently has 370,000 patients, is in discussion with a further four GP practices about joining the super-partnership.

Although it declined to name the practices during the merger talks, OHP said they were based in Birmingham and Shropshire, where it already operates 34 and six practices respectively.

The news comes as rival super-partnership Modality, which also started in the Midlands but now brands itself England's first 'national' superpractice, recently announced an expansion that will increase its patient list size to 380,000 this month.

OHP, which describes itself as ‘the largest GP partnership in the NHS’, currently has a total of 189 partners and covers 370,000 patients across Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield and Shropshire.

OHP chair Dr Vish Ratnasuriya told Pulse that with the four new practices, the partnership will have '200 partners and cover 400,000 patients'.

Like other practices that have joined OHP, the plan is for the four new practices to retain their existing contracts, with all of the practices' partners set to become partners of OHP upon joining.

All practices that join the partnership are required to have at least a 'good' CQC rating and pay a one-off joining fee in addition to an annual membership payment.

According to Dr Ratnasuriya, growing the partnership will allow general practice to 'continue to strengthen our voice and influence, so our GPs lead integration around our practices, rather than have it done to them' under NHS England's plans for 'at scale' general practice.

He said: ‘Our growth is infilling within our current regions, Birmingham and Shropshire. We believe GP partnerships at scale need to operate at many levels and this includes contributing to, if not leading, the place and integration agenda, so that general practice remains the foundation of any future local health system.’

NHS Shropshire CCG primary care director Nicky Wilde told Pulse that it 'has not received formal notification of any other Shropshire practices joining' OHP, but added that the CCG 'is working positively with those practices that are part of Our Health Partnership'.

Working at scale has long been an NHS England priority, despite research which suggests large-scale general practice doesn’t improve quality of care and actually leads to deterioration in patient satisfaction.

Readers' comments (18)

  • Is it me or are we in a sort of testosterone fuelled competition now to see who has the kudos of being the biggest practice???

    Oh, mind you, bugger the patients!

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  • Do we never learn that big is not always better, when business over expands they often fail. Just look at the high street chains that have got too big too quickly. I think ill sit this one out

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  • How long til we see the headline...'Virgin takes over OHP" or something similar.

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  • You do think its a bit like the men with big cars, bigger practices meaning the partners have a small c**k,the mine is bigger than your mentality making up for individual deficiencies in the 'top gps' egos.All this is very sad.

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  • In my small, remote Practice I tried to be competent but, more to the point, tried to treat patients how I would like to be treated (or sadly how I would like to have been treated!). That approach seemed to work for all concerned.
    The day of a personal service seem long gone in general practice and patients are clearly just a commodity to these ‘super practices’ but the term ‘super’ appears a bit of an oxymoron to me.

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  • Big is not always good and super can mean super bad. No personalised service. Deprofessionalsed doctor turning into a disinterested worker. Pay a subscription fee and not have a say that translates into action. I'll wait and watch for super size failures.

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  • David Banner

    I suspect that those practices joining were facing extinction and bankruptcy from the recruitment crisis, so cannot be blamed for clambering on to the “super” lifeboat. Small partnerships have been slowly throttled into accepting federation or closure. It’s tragic.

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  • How very pathetic and sad. Just left my partnership and feel deflated and low for all the lovely patients I have left behind but positive for all the future patients i have to offer my “limited”locum services to. It’s the only way I can survive.

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  • National Hopeless Service

    Steaming pile of......

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  • AlanAlmond

    How depressing for anyone hoping to make a future as a GP in Birmingham.

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