Two GP practices in the city of Bath are set to merge on 1 July 2016.
St James’s Surgery and Catherine Cottage Surgery in Bath will become one GP practice with GPs and staff at Catherine Cottage leaving behind their Catherine Place premises and moving into the St James’s facilities.
The merger will give patients greater access to GPs, nurses and other primary care services in modern healthcare premises at Northampton Buildings or the more traditional branch surgery at Junction Road, Oldfield Park.
Dr Louise Leach, GP at Catherine Cottage Surgery, said:
“I am delighted that Catherine Cottage is joining with St James’s Surgery just 350m away. This will offer extended opening hours and access to a wider range of health professionals for my patients in purpose-built premises and will enable us together to offer high quality care to patients in the years to come.”
Merging the two practices also provides an opportunity to consolidate back office functions and increase the time available for direct patient care.
Wallace Goodhind, a longstanding member of Catherine Cottage’s Patient Participation Group said:
“The doctors and staff at Catherine Cottage have provided my family and others with outstanding care, service and devotion over many years.
“Despite the increasing pressures on primary care, staff at the surgery have cheerfully continued to provide great service and attention and I am confident this merger will allow the continuation of this unique patient care.”
Debra Elliott, Director of Commissioning at NHS England said:
“This is a great example of practices coming together to widen the pool of clinical expertise available for patients and ensure a resilient and extended service, meaning patients will have greater choice and increased access to GPs, nurses and other staff.”
Dr Ian Orpen, a GP at St James’s and the Clinical Chair of Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (BaNES CCG) said:
“Patient surveys consistently show that our local GP practices are amongst the best in the country for patient experience and the CCG has been working closely with all 27 practices in Bath and North East Somerset to ensure this can continue in a time of unprecedented demand and pressure on GPs. This merger is just one way that practices can work together to sustain and improve services for local people.”
Once the practices merge on 1 July, the Catherine Cottage telephone number will automatically divert to St James’s for 12 weeks to help ensure a smooth transition period for patients. The St James’s telephone number will be publicised as the practices prepare to merge.
Patients registered with Catherine Cottage Surgery will automatically be registered with St James’s Surgery and do not need to take any action. However, if patients would like to find out about alternative GP practices in their area, they can do so via the NHS Choices website (www.nhs.uk) or by contacting Primary Care Support England on 01189 183 333 who can give information about GP practices closest to where patients live.