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A DATE has been agreed for the merger of Blandford’s two surgeries, which are now working together with a view to combining on October 1 this year.

The Practice Managers’ report for both surgeries welcomed the decision of Dorset CCG that, due to its rurality, the Blandford Group Practice will form its own Primary Care Network (PCN) from July this year, and will be GP-led, putting the new Practice firmly in the driving seat.

The PCNs are based on GP registered lists, typically serving around 30,000 to 50,000 patients, with a range of staff including GPs, pharmacists, district nurses, community geriatricians, dementia workers and health practitioners, as well as social care and the voluntary sector representatives.

“Both Practices are extremely excited by this development which acknowledges that the GP is the best placed person to design and develop services to meet the needs of the local population.  We also think that this will further enhance our ability to recruit the very best health professionals into our teams,” say the practice managers.

Blandford’s patient population is 25,000, but will grow with planned housing development, and the need for funding to support the growing population is now being flagged up in relation to new housing applications.

Clarity is being sought from NHS England as to whether the recently announced £4.2 million for premises development can be used for other purposes, since the initial funding request and development plan was written two and a half years ago and no longer reflects the current position and changing plans for the delivery of health care locally.

Blandford now has nearly 20 Health Champion groups, of which details can be found on Facebook or from Sara Stringer at Whitecliff (01258 452501).

But missed appointments continue to be a problem, accounting for three per cent (868) of the 25,416 appointments from December to February.

The Patient Participate Groups (PPGs) are also working together, with information shared to the ‘Virtual PPG’s’ by email, and a PPG Networking event will be held on Thursday May 9 at Blandford St Mary Primary School in Birch Avenue between 6 and 8pm, where guest speaker Dr Simone Yule will talk about how Dorset GPs are working more closely together, and LiveWell Dorset is working to help people lead healthier lives. For details email call 07980 751520 / 07766 924612 or email communications@dorsetccg.nhs.uk