Victoria Park

A new health and wellbeing hub opens in Victoria Park

New NHS health and wellbeing hub opens in Bridgewater

People from Bridgwater and the surrounding area are benefiting from a new health and wellbeing hub that has opened in the town this winter.

The exciting new development, which is located in the former Victoria Park medical centre building, provides a range of services for people of all ages, from pre-natal to end of life care.

The hub is run by Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with the Bridgwater Bay Primary Care Network – which is where GP practices work together with community, mental health, social care, pharmacy, hospital and voluntary services in the local are to meet the needs of individual patients.


Pictured (front – left to right): Lucy Pigden-Harmer – Mental Health Patient Care Coordinator, Emma Kozaj – Patient Care Coordinator, Rachel Cheetham – Health and Wellbeing Hub Manager, Molly Essex – Patient Care Coordinator, Kris Leaworthy – Deputy Primary Care Network Manager and Deputy Hub Manager. Pictured (back – left to right): Jessica Dilworth-Smith – Primary Care Network Administrator, Joel Diffey – Patient Care Coordinator.

The idea of the hub is to provide equal access to health advice and support for all patients to empower them to manage their own long term conditions.

Rachel Cheetham, the Victoria Park Health and Wellbeing Hub manager, said: “We’re very excited to have opened our doors to the local community this winter.

“The main aim of the hub is to give people the confidence to look after their own health, so they are less likely to need care and treatment from their GP or hospital.

“We operate an open-door arrangement where people can drop in if they need any help with their general wellbeing, as well as offering a range of pre-booked appointments.

“Our friendly patient care coordinators welcome people into the hub and support them with their individual needs. This could include signposting them to supportive services within health, social care, or the voluntary sector.

“The full range of services available at the hub is being reviewed all the time and we want to hear feedback from those in our local community so we can truly meet peoples’ needs.

“However, we do already know that this will include community midwifery, health coaches and chronic disease reviews, alongside early emotional and mental health support for people of all ages.

“We’re also fortunate that the hub sits within the wider footprint of the Victoria Park Community Centre, Little Adventurers Nursery and JHoots Pharmacy, which opens up opportunities to work closely together.”

Michael Bainbridge, associate director of primary care at NHS Somerset, which commissions services at the hub, said: “When the Victoria Park GP practice closed, we undertook extensive public and stakeholder engagement to seek feedback and listen to local people and communities about what the potential futures options for the site could be.

“The development of a health and wellbeing hub will provide a holistic approach to addressing the health and care needs of the local community.”

The new Victoria Park Health and Wellbeing Hub is not a GP health centre and won’t provide urgent or acute care. Patients who need that level of help should speak to their GP, visit their nearest minor injuries unit, or call NHS 111 if unsure what to do.

NHS Somerset makes decision on a new Health and Wellbeing Hub in Bridgwater

Local Bridgwater residents will have access to a new health and wellbeing hub which is to replace Victoria Park Medical Centre, the hub will provide a range of services, including support for children and young families as well as older people.

In August 2021, the difficult decision was made to close Victoria Park Medical Centre in Bridgwater due to clinical staffing shortages. While NHS Somerset worked collaboratively with practice staff to find a solution it was not possible to find a way to provide a clinically safe service at the practice and patients were supported to re-register at other local practices in the area.

To ensure the health needs of the local population was met, NHS Somerset set up a programme of work with the aim of considering the best model of care that should operate from the premises in the future.

The programme included representatives from Victoria Park Community Centre, the District Council, Healthwatch, local health and care providers and NHS Somerset, with support from NHS South Central and West Commissioning Support Unit.

Michael Bainbridge, from NHS Somerset said, “Extensive public and stakeholder engagement was carried out to seek feedback and listen to local people and communities about what the potential futures options for the site could be. The development of a health and wellbeing hub will provide a holistic approach to addressing the health and care needs of the local community.”

Engagement Report Published on the Closure of Victoria Park Medical Centre and Next Steps

NHS Somerset has published an engagement report describing the feedback given by patients and residents, following the closure of the Victoria Park Medical Centre.

Over 100 people gave us their feedback through three drop-in sessions and an online survey. All the information provided was analysed by an independent expert, who has written a report.

The report includes details of people’s experiences of their new GP practices, their views about what NHS Somerset needs to consider when planning for future local health services and suggestions about possible solutions.

Patients and stakeholders were invited to attend a series of engagement sessions in October 2021, where they discussed the future of the Victoria Park Medical Centre site and individuals' experiences of accessing GP services since the closure. These drop-in events created the opportunity for community members to have their say, providing really useful feedback for local decision makers.

A copy is available to read Victoria-Park-Medical-Centre-Engagement report.

Two engagement meetings were held by the NHS Somerset on 10th January 2022. The purpose of these meetings was to:

• Share the key themes from the October engagement
• Describe the process to explore, assess and narrow down a range of possible solutions for future services at Victoria Park
• Provide details of the range of options currently on the table for consideration
• Ask for people’s views/thoughts and to answer their questions

A report was produced and is available Victoria-Park-Engagement-Report - Jan meetings.

In August 2021, the decision was made to close Victoria Park Medical Centre in Bridgewater. Somerset NHS subsequently held two rounds of in person engagement, to find out about current and future healthcare needs in this community.

What you said -

  • Experiences of accessing GP service since the closure have been mixed
  • Barriers to accessing care included travel problems, difficulties getting through on the phone, new practices not knowing them, and lack of parking at other surgeries
  • The need for a community-focussed solution was put forward.

What we did -

  • The feedback from these events will be considered as part of the assessment of a range of solutions, which will be communicated with the local community going forward.