THE two medical practices in Lyme Regis will join forces under a new NHS contract starting from June this year.
Virgin Care has lost the contract to continue running the GP and nursing services at Lyme Regis Medical Centre.
Instead, the medical centre will join forces with Lyme Bay Medical Practice, operating as a single practice under the leadership of local GP Dr Forbes Watson as of June 1.
Dr Watson, who is also chairman of Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group, currently runs Lyme Bay Medical Practice, known locally to many as Kent House.
The decision was revealed last Wednesday evening in a surprise announcement by Bridport doctor Richa Singh, vice-chairman of the West Dorset Primary Care network, addressing the annual parish meeting at Charmouth.
Following the announcement, a statement from the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “Towards the end of 2018 we (NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group) held an event to inform people living in and around Lyme Regis about changes to primary medical care and community health services in Lyme Regis Medical Centre (LRMC). We recognise that a number of people were expecting an update sooner in the year and would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone for their patience.
“From June 1 2019 the Lyme Regis Medical Centre and the Lyme Bay Medical Practice will join together as a single practice, led by Dr Forbes Watson. The intention is for GP and nurse services currently provided at LRMC to continue, in the same building.
“The only difference will be that, instead of being employees of Virgin Care, the doctors and nurses will be employed directly by this single local practice, while the two separate patient lists will become one list registered with this practice.
“NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group, Virgin Care and Dr Watson are working closely to ensure a seamless coming together of services. Staff across LRMC and Lyme Bay Medical Centre will now be working together to shape services going forward following a LRMC staff event on March 5 2019.
“Plans are progressing well and we are confident that this will result in a smooth transition for patient care.
“The community services provided to patients at both the present Lyme practices and the Charmouth practice have been put out to tender by the Clinical Commissioning Group. We are at the final stages of the procurement process and hope to announce the new provider in early April.
“The new provider will continue to deliver community services out of LRMC and we believe services will be strengthened with both the community and general practice working closely to meet the needs of the local population.”
All patients registered at either of the Lyme Regis practices or Charmouth Medical Practice are invited to find out more about the changes at a drop-in information session on Tuesday, April 9 in the Woodmead Halls from 2pm to 6.30pm. There will be an opportunity to hear updates and meet both the community and primary care representatives and ask questions.