A BASINGSTOKE GP surgery responsible for the care of 14,000 patients across the town is set to be taken over.

Bermuda and Marlowe Partnership, who operate Shakespeare House Medical Centre in Popley, will not have their contract renewed when it ends next year.

It has led to "advanced talks" between the North Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group, who are responsible for organising GP services across the region, and the partners at Bramblys Grange Medical Centre to take over the surgery and the care of patients registered there.

Bramblys Grange run surgeries at Dickson House in the town centre and Rooksdown Practice, and the most recent survey of patients revealed it had a satisfaction rate of nearly 80 per cent.

It comes after The Gazette reported how the largest healthcare provider in North Hampshire, the Camrose, Gillies and Hackwood partnership, were to be "taken over" by American-owned healthcare firm Operose Health.

The latest merger announced among primary care services is not expected to go through until late 2021 or early 2022, meaning the CCG are looking at finding a "caretaker" organisation to run the practice once the Bermuda and Marlowe contract expires in March.

Dr Matt Nisbet, GP and the clinical lead for business and partnerships at the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Partnership of CCGs, said: “NHS North Hampshire CCG is in advanced discussions regarding the future of the current Bermuda and Marlowe Practice.

“The CCG and the current partners jointly agreed that the existing contract for primary care services – which ends in March 2021 – would not be renewed.

“That means that the task now is to find a new provider which can offer care and support to the patients for the long term.

“We are in advanced talks with another local practice, Bramblys Grange, where the partners have expressed a strong interest in taking on the Bermuda and Marlowe patients permanently.

“No final decisions have been made at this point, and we must follow proper process, but all parties are focused on securing an outcome which gives patients certainty and reassurance.

“Given the need to make sure that any transfer takes place smoothly, the CCG is exploring the option of bringing in a temporary ‘caretaker’ organisation to run the practice for between 6-12 months, to ensure that the transition is managed carefully.”

Meanwhile Dr Andrew Bill, partner at Bramblys Grange, added: “We see this as a real opportunity for everyone involved, which is why we are keen to explore whether we can make this happen.

“Our belief is that Bermuda and Marlowe patients can benefit because we can offer long-term stability for them, and our existing patients will also benefit because as a larger practice we will be able to further develop the range of services we can offer to everyone.”

If the merger is completed, it will provide services for 33,000 residents and become the second largest primary healthcare provider in North Hampshire.

Reacting to the news, Cllr David Potter said: “I am disappointed really, in terms of the whole situation with GP practices at the moment.

“Whilst it is a sign of the times when these amalgamations come over, and we have got these American provider organisations sniffing around as well, it nevertheless represents a real threat to GP service provision in Basingstoke and the people in Popley as well.

“I have got to be hopeful really. I would be optimistic that we would have good professionals involved who would seek to raise the service.

“But when it comes down to it what the average citizen wants is a real relationship with a general practitioner and the ability to talk to him or her whenever they want so there is somebody who understands their circumstances.

“With the advent of Brexit and the relationship with America changing, and the stories about the NHS being offered to the Americans as a bargaining chip, leads to all sorts of concerns about the future of the NHS.”