New federation of Bath GP surgeries to provide highest level of care

Five GP surgeries in Bath have joined forces to share their clinical expertise for the benefit of their patients.

The federation of practices – Combe Down Surgery, Grosvenor Place Surgery, Newbridge Surgery, Rush Hill & Weston Surgery and St Michael’s Partnership in Twerton – have formed the Minerva Health Group.

The group is a not-for-profit organisation which aims to bring together best practice from each of the surgeries to provide the highest possible level of care for their combined 34,000 patients.

The five surgeries have been working collaboratively for three years to improve standards and make sure their services are sustainable and resilient in the face of increasing demand, and have now joined forces as a federation.

Speaking on behalf of the federation, Dr Sam Robinson from Combe Down Surgery said: “All our member practices are dedicated to providing excellent quality and continuity of care to our patients, along with a strong focus on safe prescribing.

“Our patients will initially see very little difference in the way they receive care and treatment and can continue to contact their local surgery in the usual way.  Joining together as a federation makes all five of our practices more sustainable for the future and allows us to continue to provide patient-centred care to residents across B&NES for many years to come.”

Working as a federation will bring each surgery in the Minerva Health Group a number of benefits, including:

  • Funding – as a federation, the five practices have secured funding for a new Practice Pharmacist role, working across all of their sites to review patients’ treatment histories and ensure the most effective, safe prescription of medicines.
  • Improved coordination– by joining together the federation is able to coordinate joint clinics for patients to receive the shingles vaccination. The partner surgeries expect to be able to offer wider access to other immunisation schemes and specialist clinics as a consequence of joining up as a federation.
  • Workforce development – as a federation there are greater opportunities to recruit, train and support clinical and administrative staff who may also be able to work across two or more sites to cover staff shortages (e.g. because of sickness).
  • Standardising back office systems and processes – the federation can set up single standardised processes and develop clinical templates to use across all five practices.

Corinne Edwards, Director of Acute and Primary Care Commissioning at Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group said; “To help GPs to better manage their increasing workloads, we are encouraging our practices to work more closely together by either merging with other practices or coming together as a federation.

“By joining forces the Minerva Health Group can share knowledge and clinical expertise for the benefit of patients more effectively and offer more and better services. It also improves their ability to recruit high quality clinical and administrative staff.  This development is an important step forward in the transformation of primary care in B&NES so that it remains resilient for the future.”