A GP surgery in Marlborough and another in Pewsey are to merge next spring as a way of overcoming a shortage of doctors.

Marlborough Medical Practice and Pewsey Surgery have been in discussions to explore the possibility of a merger after resignations from several practices in Wiltshire and difficulty in recruiting.

Partners from both practices have been discussing the merger as a next step to make sure they are able to continue to provide the best care and services for their patients, by working more efficiently and sharing workloads.

The proposal is for both practices to remain open and for GP appointments to continue to be provided from both surgeries, so patients will continue to see a GP in their home towns. The plans have been discussed with and are supported by Wiltshire CCG and NHS England.

Dr Anna Collings, partner at Pewsey Surgery said: "The workforce challenges within the NHS, and most particularly the shortage of GPs and other primary care staff, have been widely reported nationally and locally and are now beginning to affect our own north east corner of Wiltshire. It is really important for us to continue our patient relationships and to keep improving the quality and range of our services. But the challenges are real and we need to take action now to make sure we can respond to the developing healthcare landscape. Merging with Marlborough Medical Practice is a sensible and positive way forward.”

Dr Jenny Campbell, partner at Marlborough Medical Practice said: “We’re confident that this proposal will make us far stronger and more resilient and will give us the opportunity to offer more enhanced services and to share specialisms and staff. Our two practices already work closely together, so formally merging is a logical next step. Our staff are supportive and both practices will keep our respective patients up to date with the ongoing discussions”.

The merger is expected to take effect in the spring of 2017. A statement issued by the surgeries says: "Sharing resources will give some 18,000 patients access to more flexible services. While we expect that neither patients nor staff will notice any immediate change, both practices believe that collaboration will enable us to continue to provide quality care for our patients.

"Joining together will lead to better ways of working as we develop a new vision for general practice in and around Marlborough and Pewsey, and we believe that this will be good for patients and our staff."