PATIENTS of two GP practices in Cwmbran will have the opportunity to quiz doctors and other senior staff about forthcoming merger plans this week.

The Fairwater Medical Centre and Greenmeadow Surgery practices - which together care for some 14,000 patients - will merge on April 1 to create the Cae Teg Health Centre.

The new single practice will continue to provide services from all three surgeries - at Fairwater, Greenmeadow and Thornhill - operated by the current practices.

But a range of changes are being planned in terms of how surgeries are run, including a new on-call system to triage and deal with same day/urgent needs, and a new appointments system to provide more bookable appointments and more online access.

Tracey Redwood, who manages both the Fairwater Medical Centre and Greenmeadow Surgery, the overarching aim of the merge is to improve the services that are provided to patients.

"It will enable us to recruit more doctors and have a wider range of staff, including advanced nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and specialist healthcare assistants," she said.

"In essence, due to the pressures and challenges facing general practice, along with a desire to thrive and develop our services, we are formally merging the practices in April.

"We are using the merger not only to give greater resilience, but also to implement a new service model."

Each practice currently lists six doctors and a range of other services, including contraceptive clinics, smoking cessation support, and minor surgery.

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board - which is working with the practices as the merger approaches - and independent patients' watchdog Aneurin Bevan Community Health Council, are supporting the plan.

A drop-in event will be held on Wednesday, and will take place in the function room at Greenmeadow Community Farm, Cwmbran, from noon-2pm.