HEALTH services “on their knees” across Wiltshire will be shaken up as part of plans to combine 48 current GP practices into 11 Primary Care Networks.

This will mean Salisbury’s GP surgeries, dentists, and pharmacies will join together to make it easier for patients to get the care they need, the NHS says.

Health chiefs say that Primary Care Networks will increase GP opening times, make appointments longer and create more healthcare staff.

Wiltshire CCG presented plans to the Health Select Committee this week which showed that, by July, groups of surgeries will be joined together to form one network for communities of between 30-50,000 people.

It was then revealed that the city will be part of the Sarum South community.

The aim of the network is to bring together “fragmented” community health services.

Funding for primary care in each community will be given to the Networks, made up of up to five doctors surgeries.

It is hoped GPs will be able to focus on patients with complex needs while community nurses, physiotherapists and pharmacists will be used to see other patients.

Across England, primary care is set to have £3.5 billion invested between now and 2024, some of which will be used to invest in Primary Care Networks.

Primary Care lead for Wiltshire CCG Jo Cullen said: “We have a number of areas where we have strong teams for older people and a mix of staff come together. GPs are enthusiastic we have been reorganised.

“What they’re interested in is their service for patients to meet demand. Pharmacists, paramedics and physios will all be involved. Most funding will come through the networks moving forward so the surgeries will have to work together.”

She added that having Primary Care Networks in other parts of the country has led to GPs offering 30 minute appointments.

Wiltshire’s GPs met on March 14 to find out more about plans, and Ms Cullen said doctors were “really eager” to start the networks.

When asked by Health Select committee member Cllr Clare Cape why the change was causing so much enthusiasm, Ms Cullen said: “A lot would say they’re on their knees and this is the only show that will deliver their care.”