GP Practice Merger

Burnt Ash Surgery & Downham Family Medical Practice

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Burnt Ash Surgery & Downham Family Medical Practice are planning to merge to create a single patient list.  The two practices will come together to form Ashdown Medical Group, pooling their management and clinical teams to offer greater resilience and a wider choice of services to our patients.  Both Practices have been sharing their values and commitment to high quality clinical care over the past year and now believe a full merger will help to provided improved access and choice for patients.


  1. Why are the practices merging? Over the past year, both practices have been working collaboratively with management and administration staff.  We believe that the most effective way to further develop our patient services and care for our communities is to complete a full merger.
  2. What is the anticipated timescale for the merger? We are aiming to merge the practices by 1st September 2022.
  3. What will each location be called after the merger? We will continue to operate from our current locations within Burnt Ash Surgery and Downham Family Medical Practice and will identify our locations using these names.  This will make it clear where patients will be accessing their care.
  4. Will surgery telephone numbers change? The telephone numbers will remain the same.  We are keen to keep both existing telephone numbers and make the system as simple as possible for patients.
  5. Will I still be able to make an appointment to see my usual GP or Nurse? Yes.  We value the one to one relationships our patients have with the clinicians.  It is expected that the merger will further increase our ability to provide our patients with access to other highly skilled local doctors and nurses in the event that your usual doctor or nurse is absent from work.  We aim to reduce the use of locum GPs to provide patients with continuity of care.
  6. Can patients request an appointment at the other practice? Yes, patients will have access to book an appointment with any doctor or nurse at Burnt Ash Surgery or Downham Family Medical Practice.  Our aim is to provide better access to appointments and services.
  7. Will my usual surgery opening times stay the same? Yes, we are not currently anticipating any changes to our core opening times.  We also expect to be able to improve and extend our opening times for all our patients.
  8. Will the intended merger affect any treatment or medication I am currently receiving? No.  Any current treatments, medications, investigations and/or referrals will not be affected by our intentions to merge.
  9. How will the new arrangement benefit GPs and Nurses at the practice? Our GPs, Nurses, Physician Associates and other Health Support Workers will all have access to a wider pool of clinical knowledge and expertise to draw upon and will have greater opportunities to specialise in areas such as diabetes, care of the elderly and urgent access.  We will also be able to provide better cover for any planned or unplanned absences which we hope will alleviate the pressures felt by remaining staff.  In addition, we should be able to reduce our reliance on locum or bank staff. We anticipated that the merger will provide more opportunities for enhanced training and career development.
  10. Will any staff be made redundant? No.  All staff will continue to be employed as they are now.
  11. Will any service that is currently offered by my usual surgery be removed or stopped? No.  We anticipate that this merger will bring about a greater choice of services.
  12. Will I have to go to another GP Practice site for consultations and/or treatments? No.  However, if in the future, we feel that one of the sites provides a better or more appropriate service for specific patients – for example, a particular doctor at one site may specialise in COPD or diabetes – you may be asked if you would like to attend there in order to access the specialised care and you can choose this option.
  13. Will the practice continue to have a Patient Participation Group? We will work with PPG members from both practices and hope to take this opportunity to form one Patient Group.  We would encourage any patient who would be interested to join our Group.
  14. If the practices don’t merge, what will the future look like? General Practice is seeing a substantial increase in demand coupled with fewer doctors choosing a career in primary care.  In order to ensure we can continue to provide a high standard of care that is sustainable for the future, the partners at both practices believe this merger needs to take place.
  15. Who makes the final decision?  Is it already a ‘given’ that it will go ahead? The practices are in the proposal stage.  After we have informed everyone of the plans and given the chance to give feedback, the practices will produce a final report to be submitted to the Commissioners.  When a final decision has been made we will update the websites with information and communicate this to our patients.
  16. Will my feedback be listened to? Yes.  We really value the input our patients and stakeholders can contribute to this process.  We are trying to provide the best possible service to meet our patient and community needs so your views and feedback are important to us.
  17. If I have further questions I would like to ask or comments to make, how do I do this? You can put these in writing for the attention of the Practice Manager, Louise Hassan  We will aim to respond to any questions/comments within 10 working days of receipt.


We value your opinions and would be grateful if you could spare a couple of minutes to complete our survey.

Many thanks,

Louise Hassan, Practice Manager

Proposed Merger Engagement Questionnaire Survey (

Published: May 30, 2022