PATIENTS from across Bury have welcomed the merger of seven GP services.

The surgeries intend to become one practice, known as Tower Family Healthcare, with more than 30 GPs.

The merger involves Greenmount Medical Centre, Tottington Medical Practice, Spring Lane Surgery in Radcliffe, the Uplands Medical Centre in Whitefield, and Minden Family Practices in Bury, which incorporates three practices – Yacht, Waves and Anchor.

Doctors say they hope the decision will help each of the surgeries ensure high care standards, secure services for the future and attract new talent.

Sheena Rushton, aged 60, a patient at Greenmount Medical Centre, said: “I’m happy with it and think it’s a good idea.

“One of the reasons given was staffing and support for resources and I’m aware that it is hard to recruit GPs. As a patient, it will be really useful because the fact that we have got different expertise can only be a good thing.”

“It may have to be sold to some patients but I think they just need reassuring that it’s not going to change things that much.”

Harry Sharman, aged 23, a patient at Tottington Medical Practice, said: “Joining the practices appears to be a positive move that allows for increased resources available to all patients and hopefully easier management of the borough wide system.

“However, recognisable services must still be available to the whole community at a local level and must be accessible by all.”

Medical bosses say that as part of the merger, all seven practices will maintain their current buildings and patients will retain access to their usual doctor in the same centre.

Sheila Willacy, aged 67, a patient at Spring Lane Surgery, said: “I think it’s an excellent idea. I have looked into it in some detail because it matters to me a lot.

“If our surgery had gone in with a big medical centre then we would have lost our identity, but I’m happy here at Spring Lane.”

The plan, which will affect over 50,000 patients, is subject to consultation and NHS approval, but is expected to be completed within the 12 months.