Blackthorn Health Centre & Hedge End Medical Centre Merger


We are hosting a series of further patient information events where you can learn more and share your thoughts on the proposed merger of your two local GP Practices.

Limited parking is available at each venue. Please walk / cycle / car share where possible.

These events are open to patients at both Practices and will last one hour.

Free tickets for these events are available via the links below.

We kindly request that you register to attend the face-to-face events so we can manage the total number of attendees. If you cannot book your ticket via the link below for the two face-to-face events, please complete the slip at the Practice’s reception desk to reserve your free ticket. (please do not ring your practice to arrange a ticket)

  • Event 5: Memorial Hall, Hamble Village on Tuesday 16th April 2024 at 2.30pm. To book a free ticket for this event, please click HERE.
  • Event 6: Microsft Teams (online) on Thursday 18th April 2024 at 6.30pm. To join this event, please click HERE at the time of the meeting (you do not need to pre-register for this event).




Dear Patients of Blackthorn Health Centre & Hedge End Medical Centre,

Over the past five years, our two practices have worked closer together by way of the Primary Care Network (PCN). Together, we have enjoyed developing and offering new services and collaborating on successful projects to provide better care for our patients.

After extensive discussions between the partners, we feel the natural progression is to formalise this arrangement. We propose to merge the two practices to form a new organisation.

This partnership would be a significant step forward for both practices and our patient community. It represents, not just a merging of resources, but a fusion of our vision – to provide a responsive, innovative and flexible service for our patients. It will also help safeguard GP services for many years to come.

We want to assure you that this proposed merger would not result in the closure of any of our three sites, and instead seeks to strengthen the great work we have done together so far.

We have collaborated previously on these successful projects:

  • Eastleigh Southern Parishes Primary Care Hub (now located at the former Bursledon Surgery site in Lowford), offering additional GP and advanced nurse practitioner appointments as part of the Daytime Service and the Enhanced Access Service.
  • Out of Hours Service, offering additional capacity to support NHS services when GP practices are closed.
  • Delivering COVID-19 vaccinations (also at Lowford).
  • Additional roles including pharmacists, home visiting paramedics, mental health practitioners, musculoskeletal practitioners, physician associates, pro-active care nurses, social prescribers, health & wellbeing coaches and our award-winning Care Navigation Service.
  • Additional Phlebotomy (blood testing) Service.
  • Coil and implant clinics outside of normal GP opening hours.
  • Family therapy services.
  • Counselling for young people.
  • Proactive Discharge Service supporting patients over the age of 80 who have been discharged from hospital.
  • The Life Changes Counselling Service.


Urgent Care Centre

We intend to further build on the success of the PCN with our next joint project, the Urgent Care Centre (UCC). The UCC will be based at the Lowford site and will host the majority of urgent care needs of our patients who are currently seen at the Blackthorn and Hedge End sites.

The service will be managed by our own GPs and supported by an array of clinical staff, including our advanced nurse practitioners, paramedics, health care assistants, pharmacists, musculoskeletal practitioners and mental health practitioners.

The success of this project will increase the routine GP appointment capacity at both practices. The non-urgent service will be managed by the remainder of the GPs, and other primary care team members, at the Blackthorn and Hedge End sites. They will be seeing the more complex patients, including those who would benefit from seeing the same GP or requiring more routine care. As a result, you will be able to see your local GP more quickly.

The UCC is planned to launch in the spring / summer and more information will follow nearer the time.

The decision to unite the practices and the PCN is driven by our commitment to future sustainability and our belief in the power of collaboration to address the complex challenges of modern healthcare.


What does this mean for our patients?

We think this is an exciting time for the patients of both practices, but we appreciate you will have lots of questions.

We have compiled a Q&A document which we hope will answer many of these questions, and we encourage your feedback on these proposals.

You can share your feedback and ask questions in the following ways:

  • Email us on
  • Complete a feedback slip available from each of the three sites
  • Attend a stakeholder meeting (dates to be announced)


On behalf of both practices, we wish to thank you for your continued support. We look forward to embarking on this journey together, towards a more accessible and more sustainable healthcare future within the Eastleigh Southern Parishes PCN.



This Q&A was last updated: Wednesday 14th February 2024



What is being proposed?

Blackthorn Health Centre and Hedge End Medical Centre are proposing to merge their business partnerships and contracts they hold with the NHS.

Both practices have worked together closely for some time now and are the two core members of the Eastleigh Southern Parishes Primary Care Network (PCN).


Will this mean my own practice will shut?

No. This proposal is about merging how the practices are jointly run and not about closing or opening practice sites.


When is this proposed change likely to come into effect?

An application to merge NHS contracts will be given to NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board during late spring 2024.

If approved, subject to any technical preparations associated with the NHS contractual merger, the practices plan to merge on 1 October 2024.


What are the benefits of this proposed merger?

The merging of two established and resilient practices provide the opportunity to create a new organisation on a long term sustainable footing able to capitalise for patients the strengths and opportunities for improvement that come with scale whilst still supporting the fundamentals of general practice so valued by patients and the GP partners.


Will I have to re-register to the new practice?

No, as part of the merger, your details will be transferred automatically across, and you will not be required to do anything.


Is this already a ‘done deal’

No. The practices are committed to listening to the views and feedback from all our patients, our stakeholders, and local people.

The decision to merge rests with the practices but our request to form one NHS provider with one NHS contract must be approved by the ICB and that decision will consider all feedback received.


How can I share my feedback on these proposals?

  • Email us on
  • Complete a feedback slip available from each of the three sites
  • Attend a stakeholder meeting (dates to be announced)


What will the new merged practice be called?

The merged practices will determine the name of the single practice prior to October 2024, and we will share with patients once agreed.


Is this merger planned because there are not enough GPs?

No. However, the benefit of reducing the administrative burden on individual practices means we can free up more time for our clinicians to treat our patients and for our GP partners and management team to promote our work as we seek to recruit GPs, pharmacists, mental health workers etc. in the future.


How far am I going to have to travel for services in future?

The proposal includes no plan to close any site.

The two practices already provide services at the Primary Care Hub in Lowford and will look for opportunities to make more use of those premises to support the delivery services to patients.


Will more appointments be offered because of the merger?

The merger will allow us to reduce the administrative burden on our staff and that means freeing up time for our clinical team to see and speak to patients. We will seek to improve access to same day appointments where urgent care is required.


I am housebound or unable to travel far. What would this merger mean for me?

We will always ensure that appointments offered at any of our sites take into account the health of our patients.


Will the clinicians at the new practice change?

The GP partners of both practices and other multi-disciplinary staff at the time of the merger will all join the new single practice.


Will our social care services change?

No. Social care services are run by local authorities, not the NHS. If you live in Eastleigh borough, these services will continue to be provided by Hampshire County Council.


Will our NHS maternity services change?

There will be no change.


Will the new practice be merging with other GP practices in the future?

We have no such plans and are committed to serving our existing patients.


Will I still be able to see the GP or practice nurse or social prescriber etc. that I am used to?

If the merger is approved by the ICB, all employed staff from both practices will be invited to transfer employment to the new practice. We always strive to offer patients an appointment with the most appropriate clinician in an appropriate timeframe.


Will the merged practice provide enough appointments for the increase in patients?

We believe the merged practices will form a stronger organisation better able to support our recruitment of the clinicians and non-clinical staff we shall need as our practice size grows.

The practice team will continue to regularly review the number of appointments available to ensure that we are able to accommodate the health needs of all patients.


Will the merged practice still offer the same services?

Yes – we plan to continue all current services.


Will I need to change my nominated pharmacist receiving my prescriptions?

No – there will be no need to change.


How will I request an appointment at the practice?

There will be no changes to the ways in which you currently request assistance and appointments from the merged practice.


Do I have to stay with the merged practice?

Patients are free to seek registration with any practice of their choice at any time but of course we hope all patients will choose to stay and experience the positive change the proposed merger can deliver.


What about the practice staff?

If the merger is approved by the ICB, all employed staff from both practices will be invited to transfer employment to the new practice.


What is an ICB?

ICB stands for NHS Integrated Care Board. The ICBs recently replaced the old NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups. The NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight ICB’s purpose is to meet the health and care needs of our population and improve wellbeing by working collaboratively with health and care partners. The ICB is responsible for making sure that local people get the high-quality NHS services they need. This includes responsibility for ensuring people have access to GP services, NHS dentistry, optometry (opticians) and community pharmacy services.


What is the PCN?

The PCN stands for Primary Care Network, and this PCN is called Eastleigh Southern Parishes PCN. The PCN is the organisation which helps to join up general practice, community, mental health, social care, pharmacy and voluntary services.


How will I be kept informed of the merger proposals and the ICBs decision?

We will update patients via text messaging (where we have consent to do so), via social media, via dedicated pages on each practices’ / PCN website and by publishing information on the noticeboard in the waiting rooms at the three sites. We will add new questions and answers to this list of ‘frequently asked questions’ and keep a copy updated on each practices’ website and waiting rooms.