Worle GP practice could close and move services to cope with growing demands
PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 September 2017
Managers of a GP surgery in Worle are considering merging with a larger practice which already covers four sites in North Somerset as 'working in isolation is not sustainable'.
The Riverbank Medical Centre, in Walford Avenue, could close and move its services to St Georges Surgery, in St Georges, if the proposals get the green light.
It has 9,808 patients and has launched a consultation with those people about the proposals.
St Georges Surgery, in Pastures Avenue, is part of the Mendip Vale Medical Practice, which also has surgeries in Langford, Yatton and Congresbury.
The centres are 0.9 miles apart, and it would take four minutes to drive between them, a 15-minute bus ride, or a 16-minute walk.
Dr Mike Jenkins, executive partner at Riverbank, said in a letter to patients: “The Riverbank site has limited opportunities for further expansion, without a total rebuild, and therefore the St Georges site would potentially provide a longer term solution.
“By combining the services, and staff of Riverbank and Mendip Vale in the same building, all our patients will gain from an enhancement in the services we will be able to offer.”
The NHS has admitted GP surgeries in and around Weston ‘are not coping’ and mergers are seen as one way to ease the strain.
Patient numbers are continuing to increase, while their conditions are also more complex to deal as people often have more than one illness for GPs to treat.
At the same time as the increased demand, surgeries are struggling to recruit new doctors.
Dr Jenkins said: “We hope our patients will understand the current model of small practices working in isolation is not sustainable.”
He said larger practices made up of GPs, advanced nurse practitioners, pharmacists, paramedics, nurses and health care assistants makes it easier for surgeries to recruit more staff.
Dr Jenkins added: “There are also economies of scale as small practices are not as cost effective as larger groupings.
“While savings are small they would enable the practice to reinvest in its services and potentially attract a greater skill-mix of clinical staff.
“This would help support the growing demands placed on our services from the increasing list size.”
The proposals will need approval from NHS England and a consultation with patients.
Patients are invited to complete a survey, which has been sent to them, by October 15.