Walsall GP surgeries under threat in radical health shake up

CREDIT: This story was first seen in the Express & Star

Two doctor’s surgeries face closure and a further six would merge under radical plans to revamp Walsall’s GP services, he Express & Star reports.

The proposals, which also include scrapping weekend and out-of-hours appointments for five surgeries, will affect more than 30,000 patients.

Walsall Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is proposing to close Kingfisher Medical Practice, based at Bentley Medical Centre on Churchill Road in Bentley, and Keys Family Practice, based at Willenhall Health Centre on Field Street in Willenhall.

The two practices look after 4,768 and 4,808 patients respectively.

If the closures did go ahead, Walsall CCG is advising patients to attend either Berkley Practice or Stroud Practice at Bentley Medical Centre, or one of the three practices based at Willenhall Medical Centre.

Plans have also been tabled to merge Manor Medical, Wharf Family Practice and Sai Medical Practice, as well as Blakenall Family Practice, Harden Family Practice and Coalpool Family Practice.

The closures and merges are on top of plans to stop five practices – Collingwood Family Practice, Keys Family Practice, Coalpool Family Practice, Harden Family Practice and Wharf Family Practice – opening some evenings and weekends.

Instead, Walsall CCG is proposing to provide evening and weekend services at some hub GP practices in the borough.

This move would affect 20,460 patients, with the CCG’s overall proposals, including mergers and closures, affecting 37,692.

A consultation on the mergers, closures and opening times is running until September 6.

On the closures, people will be able to say whether they want the two practices to remain open or to shut.

On the Manor/Wharf/Sai merger, residents will be able to chose their preferred option, which is having Sai Medical Practice be a separate GP practice in the same building on Forrester Street or have the Sai practice share a reception room with the joint Manor Medical and Wharf Family practices. People will also be able to leave feedback on how the two options would affect them.

The options for Blakenall/Coalpool/Harden are either to base all the three surgeries at Harden Health Centre or to spread the three surgeries across two sites – Harden Health Centre and Blakenall.

Walsall CCG chairman, Dr Anand Rischie, said: “It is important that we hold consultation so we can have discussions and engage with local residents and get feedback about how we can improve the GP services we provide.

“The review of these practices as their contracts come up for renewal is part of a wider transformation of the health and social care services we provide.

“This follows on from The Big Conversation where the CCG engaged with local residents about what matters to them the most when it comes to healthcare in Walsall.

“We found that a number of residents stated they would be happy if a number of practices were to work together.”

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