TWO doctors' surgeries in Stourport will be merged together 12 months earlier than planned in an effort to streamline the service offered to patients.

Stourport Health Centre and York House Medical Centre were due to be combined to create the new Stourport Medical Centre in Dunley Road once the build is completed in 2021.

However, bosses say it has been "incredibly difficult" working from two different appointment systems, with staff split between the two sites to cover absences, and have therefore decided to merge the sites a year early on November 2.

It means Stourport Health and York House will become the newly-formed Stourport Medical Centre, but remain operating from the two current buildings until the move.

A spokesman for Wyre Forest Health Partnership said: "Staff at Stourport Health Centre and York House Medical Centre have been working closely now for a number of years as part of Wyre Forest Health Partnership but the last seven months has brought us closer together - the teamwork has been remarkable.

"Working together we have been able to maintain services, and have developed new ways of caring for you.

"We have to ensure we continue to provide the best service we can to our patients and look after our staff over the next 12 months whilst waiting for the completion of our new surgery.

"With this in mind, we have decided to officially merge the two sites now rather than wait until 2021.

"From November 2, Stourport Health Centre and York House Medical Centre will become the newly formed Stourport Medical Centre, based at the two current buildings pending the move.

"There is a great deal of work involved in the merger of the two practices and planning has been under way for some time.

"Although we will do everything we can to ensure a smooth transition, we may experience some difficulties along the way and hope that you will be understanding and patient with us whilst we adapt to a new way of working as Stourport Medical Centre."

Bosses say patients shouldn't experience many changes initially following the merger. The doctor they are registered with will remain the same and nurses will remain working across the two sites.

The majority of face-to-face appointments will remain at York House until the move. Stourport Health Centre is currently acting as our flu hub but will soon host further clinics for some pre-planned and routine nurse appointments.

More receptionists have been taken on to provide a more efficient service and focus on reducing waiting times.

Patients with online access may be sent new log-in details.

The two separate computer systems holding patients' medical records will be merged from 12pm on Friday, October 30.

Bosses say this is a complex process, but assured staff will be working with IT suppliers and NHS bodies to ensure minimal disruption to services while the work is carried out.

On October 30, appointments for patients currently registered at Stourport Health Centre will be limited, so people are advised to ensure they have adequate supplies of their usual medications in the lead up to this date.

From this point, the phone number to contact Stourport Medical Centre will be 01299 827171.

A spokesman for the medical centre said: "We would like to thank you in advance for your patience through the merging process and apologise for any disruption this may cause.

"We see this as a really exciting opportunity to provide an even higher standard of care to the patients of both practices prior to our move to the new purpose built premises next year."