Healthcare provision at Claypit Street Surgery in Whitchurch has been given a secure future with the creation of Churchmere Medical Group, according to a senior GP in the town.

Bridgewater Surgery, in Bridgewater Street, will join with Ellesmere Medical Practice to form Churchmere, subject to approval by Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group, in April.

Dr Tim Lyttle, whose Bridgewater Street practice was contracted to oversee patients at Claypit until the end of March after Shropdoc pulled out, says the merger has assured patients their access to a GP will now be permanent.

"There will still be three sites and that’s the big thing we need to emphasise to patients," he said. "There will be a site in Ellesmere, a site at Bridgewater and a site at Claypit Street.

"The opening hours do not change – nothing in the day-to-day running will change but it’s about offering long-term security. We’ve said before that it’s about making a more secure bigger organisation and then secondly, it’s about the premises, but we know that’s a couple of years away with Pauls Moss.

"Once that’s up-and-running, there will still be a site in Ellesmere and never an expectation for patients there to come over to Whitchurch and vice-versa.

"This will give a better chance of recruiting more GPs for the next however many years. When this all goes through then it’s potentially rosy, considering the GP situation in Whitchurch 12 months ago.

"There’s still a national shortage. But if there’s a Shrewsbury practice and us offering jobs, a few months ago, people would have chosen Shrewsbury. Now we’re able to present a stronger joined up practice for Whitchurch.

"Patients have got less to panic about because a few weeks ago, we had a contract at Claypit until the end of March. This makes it permanent."

The proposed merger between the two practices was announced on Monday by Shropshire CCG, and will formally happen on April 1.

The CCG said: "This secures GP services for all practices, make possible a range of innovative services, develop sustainable ways of working and attract and retain healthcare professionals able to meet current and future challenges."