STRUCTURE: Ten general practices across York have forged closer links by forming a federation to serve 70,000 patients.

The Vale of York GP Federation includes almost a third of the practices which are members of Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group.

Andrew Field, a GP in central York who led talks to form the federation, said it aimed to help small to medium-sized practices to “find economies of scale and work together collaboratively to protect [our] ability to bid for enhanced services and get involved in  procurements”.

Although the federation will incorporate as a community interest company next month, all practice will remain as separate legal entities.

Mr Field said a full merger had not been ruled out in the future. “It still might be a direction of travel. We’re still open to that,” he added.

The federated structure has been approved by City of York Council’s health overview and scrutiny. Committee chair Tina Funnell told HSJ “it sound like a very sensible way forward” that would offer “significant benefits to patients and carers”.

A spokeswoman for Vale of York CCG said it does not comment on the individual plans of GP practices.