STRUCTURE: The chair of Corby Clinical Commissioning Group is stepping down from the role to lead a merged GP ‘super-practice’ which aims to become the largest primary care provider in England.

Peter Wilczynski is the senior partner of Lakeside Surgery in Corby, one of four large GP practices in Northamptonshire that plan to form the new partnership.

While the partnership will initially serve a population of just under 100,000, it hopes to merge with other nearby practices to reach a total list size of 300,000.

Peter Wilczynski

Peter Wilczynski said his role would be ‘inconsistent’ with being CCG chair

The initial merger will make the partnership one of the biggest primary care providers in the country - and the largest in a single area.

While companies that run GP chains such as The Practice and SSP Health manage surgeries that have total populations greater than 100,000, these are spread around the country. The biggest GP practices grouped in single areas have populations of around 50,000-80,000, according to the latest figures available.

The practices’ current list sizes range from about 10,000-50,000 patients.

Dr Wilczynski said he was stepping down because his role at the new provider would be “inconsistent” with chairing the CCG. The partnership wanted to work with hospitals, community care providers and take advantage of primary care co-commissioning, he added.

The partnership aimed to deliver services that did not require a hospital bed but were currently provided by hospitals because of their size, such as outpatient services and dermatology.

It aimed to be “large enough to partner with much larger organisations” but would retain “the characteristics of general practice” such as continuity of care.

The practice planned to develop “extensivist” services that involved designing “personal packages of care” for registered patients with specific complex needs.

It also wanted to create care pathways with Kettering and Northampton general hospitals in which patients were treated jointly by the partnership’s GPs and hospital consultants.

The partnership aimed to provide “wellbeing services” with Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust and “proactively support” specialist hospitals in neighbouring counties.

These would include Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals Foundation Trust and University Hospitals of Leicester Trust, both of which treat large numbers of Northamptonshire patients.

It would also work with University of Leicester’s medical school to train medical students, Dr Wilczynski said.

The practices had rejected an alternative plan to create a federation as they said the full merger was “more likely to deliver the changes that are required”.

He suggested federations would “struggle with providing a comprehensive unified offer to both commissioners and providers”.

“Because general practice has by and large been a small business model, it’s proven very difficult to invest in services that achieve strategic change,” he added.

“One of the problems that has always occurred whenever you try and negotiate on behalf of general practice is that you are dealing with multiple different business units with different balance sheets, different ethos and plans.”