PLANS for doctors surgeries to work closer together means North Petherton Surgery will keep providing medical services for 'at least another 70 years'.

That is according to GP appraiser and North Petherton Surgery doctor Barry Moyse, who says the launch of Primary Care Networks in Somerset will be of benefit to patients.

North Petherton Surgery has been providing medical services for people in the village and its surrounding areas since before the NHS was founded in 1948.

To help support them to continue to do so for at least another 70 years they are planning a formal integration which they believe will help them meet patient needs and give them more time to care for patients.

The focus of the NHS Long Term Plan is on more care for patients being given closer to home as well as breaking down the artificial barriers that can get in the way between doctors' surgeries, hospitals and community teams like the District Nurses.

Earlier this year, Primary Care Networks were launched in Somerset and North Petherton Surgery is part of the Bridgwater Primary Care Network.

This means that practices in and around Bridgwater are starting to work together, to share new staff and offer more care more locally.

At the same time hospital teams will be coming out into the local community to run clinics and offer advice without patients having to travel to Taunton.

In addition, the ambition is to make more use of technology in health care and build healthier communities where prevention is better than cure.

Dr Barry Moyse, GP at North Petherton Surgery, said: “These are exciting times to be in general practice but here in North Petherton we are not immune from the pressures you will have heard about elsewhere in the country.

"Smaller practices like ours are vulnerable - in some parts of the country practices have even closed down.

“We believe that by working in a more organised way with our neighbours we will help safeguard the future of a doctors' surgery at North Petherton but we want to go even further.

"By integrating with Musgrove Park Hospital we will become partners in a much bigger organisation which will add even more stability to our practice during these challenging times.

“The forthcoming merger of Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust with Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust also means that this integration will give us closer links with community services in Somerset.

“Our team at North Petherton surgery will continue to provide high quality services to our patients.

"We are very proud that our patients voted our surgery one of the top 10 in Somerset, not to mention one of the top 200 in England (out of more than 4,000 practices).

"We are all fully committed, not only to maintaining our high standards but further improving them.

"Our patients and our staff will benefit from the closer links with the hospital that this integration will provide. And by sharing back office management and support with the hospital, we believe this will give us more time to care for our patients.

“We are truly grateful to our Patient Participation Group and to our County, District and Town councillors who have all offered us their support so far.

"We know that change can cause people concern so we would like to invite anyone in our community, particularly patients and carers, to contact us with at the practice any questions, comments or concerns.”