Dr Mark Allen writes:

I was very pleased to have the opportunity to speak to The Bishopston Society back in September and enjoyed the evening. Sadly, shortly afterwards, Dr Mike Archer announced his resignation which was a great disappointment to his colleagues and patients alike.

He stressed that his decision was not related to our merger and that he fully supported it, and was delighted to be leaving the practice in safe hands. Since then our three salaried GPs, Drs Addleson and Janssen at The Spence Group Practice and Dr Gibbon at Nevil Road Surgery have agreed to join the partnerships as has Linda Buczek, Practice Manager at Nevil Road. Consequently, despite Dr Archer’s departure, we start the New Year with a larger and stronger partnership team. The partners are the owners of the business and have legal responsibility for our contract with NHS England to deliver NHS General Practice medical services. We now have an enlarged team to lead the practice both in the final phase of our own merger and relocation project as well as the increasingly challenging and ever-changing world of the NHS.

 When I spoke at the meeting in September, we had hoped to be in our new premises by now (early January). Sadly, the redevelopment of the Bristol North Baths has been beset with a number of delays, many concerning the development of the new library on the same site. It now seems likely that the new health centre will not be ready for us to occupy until March or April.

 Whilst this is disappointing, there has been good progress on the site and the area to be occupied by the practice is now nearly complete. We are confident that we will soon have up to date and purpose designed premises to work from, providing services in attractive premises compliant with current regulations. We will have eight consulting rooms and four nurse treatment rooms, so have capacity for growth, and hope in time to be able to offer new services to our patients as well.

The old swimming pool is a listed building so many of the period features have been retained creating an interesting and appealing environment for our staff and patients. We are particularly pleased with the spacious reception and waiting room; it is open to the glazed roof and filled with natural light which we hope will create a welcoming and calm space for our patients.

 We will provide further updates at our current surgeries and on our website http://www.spencegroup.nhs.uk/as plans for the move become clearer.