The Practice

The Practice
Bridge Lane Practice

Practice History

Battersea BridgeBridge Lane Group Practice began as a fusion of two single handed practices which both started business prior to World War II. Dr Rowland practised from 240, Battersea Bridge Road (a stone's throw from the present Health Centre) and Dr Young had a surgery in Queenstown Road near the junction with Battersea Park Road (where Turpin House is today). Dr Young's practice was destroyed by a bomb in the blitz in 1940 and he carried on in temporary accommodation until Dr Rowland's death enabled him to buy the goodwill of that practice and merge the two, at the end of the war. The practice then continued at 238 Battersea Park Road (a house also owned by Dr Rowland).

When the National Health Service started in 1948, Dr Helen Canaval joined the practice (previously only men were registered with the "panel") and soon after her husband, Dr Gustav Canaval, also joined. Dr Young died in 1952 and Dr Mike Courtenay, who many will think of as the founder of the present day practice, joined the Canavals that year. In 1960 Dr Courtenay decide to separate and start his own single-handed practice at 525 Battersea Park Road - he had been seeing the majority of the patients, most of whom moved with him to his new practice.

Battersea PagodaAround 1968 Dr Courtenay took over the patient list of Dr Laurie Voller, who was retiring from a practice at the junction of Battersea Park Road and Alexandra Avenue. This enabled Dr Courtenay to offer a partnership, and in 1972 Dr Harry Dawson joined Dr Courtenay - and so began a lifelong friendship and partnership. They moved into Bridge Lane Health Centre in 1975 sharing the building with two other practices. It was at this point that the practice first became a training practice, initially taking medical students from St Thomas' Medical School, and then, in the late 1970's, training GP Trainees from the St George's Hospital Training scheme.

In 1986 Dr Elizabeth Snape joined Drs Courtenay and Dawson as a partner – at the same time taking over and absorbing into the practice the patients of Dr Golomb, who retired at the age of 88 having worked yards from where Dr Young practised in Queenstown Road before the war. Therefore, at this point, the practice was an amalgamation of four practices over approximately forty years. Dr Courtenay retired in 1989 and Dr Dawson in 1995.

Battersea ParkThe practice has remained in the Bridge Lane Health Centre ever since, and has grown in size and shape over that time. A number of doctors have joined and left the practice over these years, and the practice has also gradually amalgamated with the two other practices in the Health Centre – in 1990 the practice took over Dr Ellis' list when he emigrated, and in 1995 Dr Rosemary Wood joined the practice when her husband and GP partner Dr John Kelly retired, bringing with her the list that she and her husband had taken over from Dr Hynes in 1976. Now the fusion of six previous practices, the organisation took on the name Bridge Lane Group Practice.

Battersea Power StationDr Rosemary Wood retired in 2000, and the practice has also welcomed, and said farewell to: Dr Terence Quirke, who currently lives and practices medicine in New Zealand; Dr Caroline Ellin, who moved to Somerset with her husband and children; Dr Elizabeth Woolf, who returned to Sheffield with her family to continue general practice in the area where she trained as a doctor; and Dr Tess Harris, who continues to lecture part-time at St George's, University of London.

The present partners are Dr Elizabeth Snape, Dr Sheila Fitzgerald, Dr Helen Pugh, Dr Simon Mills, Dr Rupal Shah, Dr Johannes Coetzee and Dr Gillian Ostrowski. Training has remained deeply embedded in the practice ethos – we now take medical students from St George's Hospital and Imperial College Medical Schools and we continue to support and educate trainee GPs, now known as GP Registrars. The practice team has grown from one to forty.

We have attained, and retained, the Investors in People Award, and we are currently working towards achieving the Royal College of General Practitioners' Quality Practice Award. The ever changing world of primary care in the United Kingdom, particularly the current Health and Social Care Bill, continue to present us with new challenges for the future.

The Partners

Dr Elizabeth Snape

Dr Elizabeth Snape is the senior partner at Bridge Lane Group Practice. She joined the practice in 1986, and is currently a GP Trainer, which involves spending some of her time teaching and training our GP registrars. She runs a post natal clinic, and specialises in sexual and reproductive healthcare, being qualified in coil fittings and family planning.

Dr Sheila Fitzgerald

Dr Sheila Fitzgerald has been a partner at Bridge Lane Group Practice since 1991, and set up the diabetic service for the practice in 1993, hosting one of our regular diabetic clinics since then. She currently organises the programme for, and teaches, visiting medical students from St George's Hospital. Her interests include general medicine, with special interest in cardiovascular disease, diabetes and renal medicine, as well as general paediatrics.

Dr Helen Pugh

Dr Helen Pugh joined the practice in 1996 and is also a GP Trainer. She is currently working with the Bridge Lane Patient Group to help improve services for patients, and is heavily involved in practice based commissioning, redesigning services to better meet the needs of our patients. She also runs a post natal clinic, and has keen interests in asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and family planning.

Dr Simon Mills

Dr Simon Mills joined the practice in 1999, having completed his medical school training in Wales in 1992, his general practice training in north London in 1996, and a year at sea as a ships' physician for the world's largest cruise line in 1997! He is the practice clinical lead for cardiovascular disease, holds a fortnightly diabetic clinic, and also teaches medical students from St George's Hospital. He has a variety of special interests, which include cardiovascular medicine, diabetes, men's health, and joint and soft tissue injections. He attends and advises the NHS Wandsworth Cardiovascular Disease Reference group. He also provides clinical input to the practice I.T. strategy, and is involved in the ongoing development of our website and other patient e-services.

Dr Johannes Coetzee

Dr Johannes Coetzee graduated from medical school in 1993, in South Africa, and came to the United Kingdom in 1998. In 2004 he completed his training in general practice and became a partner at Bridge Lane Group Practice in 2005. His clinical interests are mental health, care of the elderly, general medicine, and addictions. More recently, he has worked in close partnership with local commissioners to support the development of models to promote improved primary care responses to alcohol related harm. This has included the development of a GP-led model for treating moderately dependent drinkers in primary care, which has been cited as good practice in the NICE (National Institute of Clinical Health and Excellence) Guidelines for commissioning alcohol treatment services. His current projects include working with hospitals to develop primary care based medical services for adults with liver disease, and he has recently been invited to contribute to ongoing work at the Department of Health regarding services for alcohol misuse. He also oversees the practice warfarin clinic.

Dr Rupal Shah

Dr Rupal Shah joined Bridge Lane Group Practice in 2005. She is interested in diabetes and cardiovascular disease and also holds regular diabetic clinics at the practice. Dr Shah teaches GPs who are in the process of qualifying, and also medical students. She is the prescribing lead for the practice. She has written a textbook for newly qualified GPs and has edited several medical magazines. She works with the Royal College of General Practitioners on their e-learning project, and is an advisor for both the NHS Choices website, and for the British Medical Journal Masterclass courses.

Dr Gillian Ostrowski

Dr Gillian Ostrowski has been a partner at Bridge Lane Group Practice since 2007.  She has interests in family planning, and children's and women's health.  She is an advocate for the Patient Group and regularly attends their meetings.  She also teaches students from St George's medical school.  She is the clinical lead for our Nursing team, and oversees the Private HPV Immunisations and Minor Surgery Clinics at the practice. She was made a Fellow of the Royal Medical Society in 1998. She has been an elected representative of the Wandsworth branch of Londonwide Local Medical Committees since 2010 and has recently obtained her Diploma in Occupational Medicine. In October 2011 she was appointed Associate Medical Director for Wandsworth.

Salaried Doctors

Salaried doctors, employed by the partnership, provide an invaluable addition to our team, and we currently have five salaried GPs working with us at the practice:

Dr Carolyn Bayer

Dr Carolyn Bayer has been working at Bridge Lane since 2003. Before becoming a GP in 2001 she worked in care of the elderly and intensive care and she holds both the MRCP and MRCGP qualifications.  Her broad experience in general practice includes looking after students at the London School of Economics for many years. She has a post-graduate diploma in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and her other interests include family planning and travel medicine. She has lived in Australia and Argentina and speaks Spanish.

Dr Anne Gauthey-Sebert

Dr Anne Gauthey-Sebert has also been working at Bridge Lane Group Practice since 2003. Originally a GP in Paris, she liaises with the community palliative care team, holds a post-natal clinic, and also works in conjunction with Dr Coetzee with patients with alcohol and substance misuse.

Dr Helen Morgan

Dr Helen Morgan joined the practice as a GP registrar in 2009 and has stayed on as a salaried doctor since the completion of her general practice training.  She has worked with Dr Bayer to improve sexual health services, access to HIV testing and services for children and young people at the practice.  She is the practice lead on child safeguarding and has recently been appointed Named GP for Child Safeguarding in Wandsworth.

Dr Uchenna Amaechi

Dr Uchenna Amaechi joined us as a GP registrar in 2010, and following the successful completion of her training in 2011, she continues to work at the practice in a salaried position.

Management Team

Claire Taylor

The Practice Manager, Claire Taylor, joined the practice in 2008.  Claire has worked within the NHS since 1993 and has gained a lot of experience in various organisations, which include Wandsworth Primary Care Trust and the Primary Care Support Service, formerly known as the Health Authority, dealing with both practices, and the general public.

Claire now works with the whole practice team to provide services to our patient population whilst ensuring the practice runs smoothly. Particular attention is being focussed on the changes proposed by the government, to ensure that Bridge Lane Group Practice is fit for purpose and able to survive the coming changes to the National Health Service. When out of the practice, Claire is currently working towards a Masters degree in Health Service Management, and hopes to complete this successfully by April 2012.

GP Registrars

Registrars in General Practice are our GPs of the future. Prospective GPs now spend a minimum of four years in further training following graduation from university, in both hospital and general practice medicine, before being fully qualified GPs. The practice has always been heavily involved in the training of future GPs, and indeed some of the current partners were originally registrars at Bridge Lane Group Practice.

The Practice regularly employs 'Registrars', who are fully qualified doctors, registered with the General Medical Council. The Registrars practice under the supervision of our GP trainers.

Nursing Team

Practice Nurses
Our Practice nurses provide a full range of primary care nursing services and these are detailed in the 'Our Services' section of our website.

Community Nursing
Click here for information on our District Nurses.

Health Care Assistants

Health care assistants work alongside, and under the guidance of, healthcare professionals, to provide services that in the past were traditionally performed by nursing staff.

Our healthcare assistants help us offer additional services to our patients which are not offered by all practices in the area. These include a phlebotomy (blood taking) service, an ECG service, smoking cessation services, and NHS Health Checks to assess your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Reception Team

Our reception team, headed by reception managers Danial Gilbert and Efrain Espinoza, are the first point of contact for patients, either at the front desk or by telephone. The practice receives approximately 700 telephone calls per day, with the majority of calls received between 8am and 11am.

Please understand the challenges that our reception team face working in such a busy practice, by trying to make your non-urgent enquiries in the afternoon, and always treating the team with respect and courtesy.

Administrative Team

There are numerous back office staff members at the practice, who work tirelessly to keep your medical records secure, our I.T. systems functioning, process your prescriptions in a timely manner, and manage the enormous flow of hospital correspondence and referral letters in and out of the practice. With over 1,000 patient contacts per week, there is a lot going on behind the scenes that many patients are unaware of.

Practice Charter

Our practice charter lists what you can expect when you are registered with us as a patient:

As a patient you have a right to:

  • Be registered with a GP
  • Change your doctor quickly and easily
  • Be offered a health check on joining our practice for the first time
  • Receive emergency care at any time through a GP if appropriate
  • Receive health care on basis of clinical need, regardless of ability to pay
  • Be given a clear explanation of any treatment proposed, including any visits and any alternatives, before you decide whether you will agree to treatment
  • Have appropriate drugs and medicine prescribed
  • Be referred to a consultant acceptable to you when your GP thinks it necessary, and be referred for a second opinion if you and the GP agree this is desirable
  • Have access to your health records, subject to any limitations in the law, and know that those working for the NHS are under legal duty to keep the contents confidential
  • Choose whether or not to take part in medical research or medical student training
  • Be given detailed information about local family doctors services through NHS Wandsworth's local directory
  • Receive a copy of the practice leaflet, setting out the services the practice provides
  • Receive a prompt reply to any complaints you make about our NHS services
  • Receive your repeat prescription within two working days of the practice receiving your request
  • Be informed, by various methods, of the practice's services and how best to use them
  • Receive health care in clean, comfortable and appropriate surroundings


ConfidentialityThe practice is registered with the Information Commissioner's Office in order to record and store clinical information, and we are legally obliged to protect any information we hold about you. We have a confidentiality policy that ensures the information held by us is used in a controlled and safe way. All of our staff are bound by our confidentiality policy, a copy of which is displayed in the practice reception. If you require a copy, please feel free to ask.

Investors In People

The practice was awarded the Investors in People standard in 1999, and has continued to maintain this highly regarded people performance award since then, achieving reaccreditation on a three-yearly basis. In 2012 we are pleased to have achieved the Investors in People Silver Award.


TeachingThe practice has a long tradition of teaching both medical students, who are undertaking their undergraduate medical studies at a local medical school, and GP Registrars, who are qualified doctors undertaking specialist training in General Practice. We are very grateful to our patients for allowing a student or trainee GP to sit in during their consultations. If at any time you do not wish a student to be present during your consultation, please advice the receptionist on your arrival.

Patient Group

Patient GroupWe have an active patient group, who meet regularly and work closely with the practice management team. If you have any ideas or proposals on how to improve the practice, and want to get involved, then you can email the group at


The practice produces a regular newsletter for patients. Please click here to view a copy of the latest bulletin.

Complaints Procedure

Complaints ProcedureWe appreciate constructive feedback regarding our staff and our services. Whether you have had a positive or negative experience we would like to hear about it. You can provide feedback by completing a yellow action sheet, which can be found by the reception counter. The Reception Manager, Danial Gilbert, or the Patient & Staff Liaison Manager, Hazel Hay can help you with this, and where possible provide a resolution. In their absence, one of their deputies may be able to help. If we need to investigate your concerns we will need to know:

  • When the incident occurred – the date and time
  • Which staff member(s) was/were involved
  • What was said and what took place

Your experience enables us to identify any training opportunities and any improvements that can be made to our systems and processes. It is also an opportunity to identify good practice, and provide positive feedback to our staff members when this is due.

As part of our resolution process, we want to deal with complaints as soon as possible after the event. We will acknowledge your complaint in writing within three working days and contact you again when we have a response. Alternatively, we may invite you in to the practice to discuss your concerns further.

Zero Tolerance

Zero TolerancePhysical violence and verbal abuse are a growing concern within the NHS. All practice staff have the right to care for others without fear of being attacked or abused. We operate the NHS Zero Tolerance Policy to safeguard staff and patient welfare. Our Team shall always show due respect and courtesy when dealing with patients. In turn, we would request patients to reciprocate the same. No form of aggression, verbal or physical in nature will be tolerated, and such behaviour may result in a patient being removed from the practice list, and being reported to the Police.

Practice Area

To register with us as a patient, you need to reside in our practice area, and this should be your main residence within the United Kingdom. We cover the whole of the SW11 postcode, and a small part of the SW4 and SW8 postcode areas that are included in the Borough of Wandsworth.

Car Park

Car ParkThe health centre has a dedicated car park with a small number of free parking spaces for patient use, available on a first come, first served basis. There are two spaces reserved for blue (disabled) badge holders. We kindly ask that you only use the car park when visiting the practice. There are a large number of on-street parking bays available in the streets surrounding the practice. Street parking charges apply during the hours 9.30am – 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

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