Transforming General Practice


Our 24 GP practices work with local services in six Primary Care Networks across Bath and North East Somerset.

There is a workforce crisis in primary care as many GPs are retiring early and recruiting newly qualified doctors into general practice is getting harder.

Due to a number of factors, including our changing population demographics and health needs, GP practices are under pressure to deliver a wider range of services, seven days a week.

Read on to find out about how Primary Care is transforming to tackle these challenges.

B&NES’ results in the GP Patient Survey for the past three years show that patients in Bath and North East Somerset have overwhelmingly good experiences when they go to see their GP. In fact, B&NES GPs consistently score among the top five CCG areas in the country for overall patient experience.

However, the demands on GPs are increasing, recruiting new GPs is becoming a challenge and the way primary care is delivered in B&NES is becoming difficult to maintain.

In September 2018 we published our Primary Care Strategy, which encourages our 24 practices to work more closely together to provide a wider range of services to our local communities, seven days a week.  The strategy includes plans for new models of care, support for the workforce, workload, improvements to infrastructure and improving access to GP services – including introducing evening and weekend appointments across the area. This is all in line with planning guidance set by NHS England that requires the CCG to provide assurances over our plans for the sustainability of general practice.

In July 2019, Primary Care Networks started working across B&NES to address the challenges faced by general practice and to ensure more proactive, personalised and coordinated care for the local communities they serve. Find out more about Primary Care Networks here.

You can read more about the NHS England General Practice Forward View here. All the work and planning done by the CCG for primary care is in collaboration with the local NHS England General Practice Forward View Transformation Team, our GP practices and is overseen by our Primary Care Commissioning Committee.

You can download our  Primary Care Strategy for 2018-2020 here. We also have a helpful ‘one-pager‘ that condenses the full strategy into its main components and how we plan to address them:

  1. Access to care – eg, Improving Access
  2. Models of care
  3. Workforce sustainability
  4. Workload
  5. Estates and infrastructure

Primary Care Networks

Our practices across B&NES are already working closer together so they can share their expertise and resources. It also means they can benefit from economies of scale.

Primary Care Networks provide a more formal arrangements for partnership working across groups of practices serving a wider geographical area. Each Primary Care Network is receiving additional funding and will be developing teams of professionals including GPs, pharmacists, district nurses, physiotherapists, paramedics, physician associates, as well as staff working in social care or the voluntary sector.

Primary Care Networks have been introduced by NHS England and NHS Improvement as part of the NHS Long Term Plan to financially sustain general practice in the short term and improve access and care in the longer term. The six Primary Care Networks in B&NES are:

Primary Care Network Population size GP Practices Clinical Director
Bath Independents 26,000 Batheaston, Fairfield Park, Widcombe Dr Daisy Curling
Minerva 35,000 Combe Down, Grosvenor, Newbridge, Rush Hill and Weston, St Michael’s Partnership Dr Sam Robinson
Heart of Bath 27,000 Merged practices of: St James’, Oldfield, Number 18, Catherine Cottage Dr Arun Gadhok
Three Valleys 67,000 Hope House, Westfield, St Chad’s and Chilcompton, Somerton, St Mary’s, Hillcrest, Elm Hayes, Harptree, Chew Medical Dr Liz Hersch
Keynsham 25,000 St Augustine’s, Temple House, Westview Dr Nick Woodward and Dr Charles Bleakley
Unity Medical Group 30,000 University Medical Centre, Monmouth, Pulteney Dr James Brooks

Biographies for each Clinical Director can be found here.

More information about Primary Care Networks can be found here.

How can we improve access to primary care? Patient and public feedback

Thank you to everyone who took part in our consultation in June/early July 2017 to explore people’s views on the different ways you can book an appointment with your GP e.g. via telephone, online or by popping in to your local practice and speaking to the receptionist.

We received over 400 responses and have summarised the results in the ‘Booking GP appointments survey’ report here.

We have also consulted with our Your Health, Your Voice patient group members and primary care professionals to find out how they think access to primary care could be improved in B&NES. Read our ‘Improving access to primary care – engagement summary’ here to find out what they said.

We will be engaging further with a range of groups to find out how we can improve access to primary care for patients. If you have any questions, or would like to share your views, please have a look at our Have your say pages and get in touch at


The issues that general practice is facing in B&NES are the same, if not worse, across the rest of the country.

The following reports have been written to identify the cause of the problems and to decide what should be done about it:

NHS England GP Forward View

BMAFocus on GP Forward View

The King’s FundUnderstanding pressures in general practice