With a combined list of 36,000 patients – nearly 8% of the Bristol population – it will be the biggest practice in the city.
The practices, based across five sites, are:
- Southville Surgery;
- Malago Surgery;
- Gaywood House Surgery; and
- Wedmore Practice.
NHS England and NHS Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have supported the application on the basis it will:
- increase resilience of services;
- enhance care to patients, with the increased use of pharmacists, physiotherapists, mental health nurses and urgent care practitioners;
- promote partnership working with other health organisations; and
- provide a centre of excellence for training.
Patients will continue to be able to see their chosen doctor at their local surgery, but will also have the option of being seen at the other sites, increasing flexibility and access. The total number of doctors across the four practices will also stay the same.
General practice across the country has been under increasing pressure due to a growing, ageing population. Practices in South Bristol have been under particular pressure over the past two years due to a series of longstanding GP vacancies.
The four practices have already been working closely together and their application followed support from NHS England and Bristol CCG to find ways of becoming more sustainable.
The merger is part of a wider move across the country in which GPs, who traditionally work in small businesses, are forming networks and larger organisations to provide greater economies of scale. This is so they can reduce the burden of administration and focus on spending more time with patients.
"Across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire we are committed to securing the long-term sustainability of primary care ensuring patients continue to receive high-level care and support. Practices working closer together is one of the ways of achieving this, as it increases resource which will benefit patients. This is an example of a positive step for GP services in the area. We will continue to work with practices and patients across the area to ensure services meet their needs." - Dr Martin Jones, NHS Bristol CCG Clinical Chair
"The merger is a positive step for the practices and one that will benefit patients. We will be able to work more effectively across our sites, enabling us to deliver enhanced levels of patient-centred care." - Brent Stephen, NHS England South West Commissioning Director
"This is a really positive outcome for patients of these practices. It secures a sustainable future as part of a bigger group and ensures patients will continue to receive high-quality care, with minimal disruption." - Debra Elliott, NHS England South West Commissioning Director
NHS England approved the application to merge subject to the practices carrying out comprehensive engagement with patients and a few other factors including IT integration.
Bridge View Medical will be holding a patient drop-in information session at the ACTA Centre (BS3 3AY) on Thursday 15 March (7pm – 9pm) where representatives from the practice will be able to answer questions.