Public transport fears for new Telford GP surgery
Patients who use public transport could have trouble getting to their new GP surgery after the planned closure of three sites across Telford, a health committee has heard.
‘Super-practice’ Teldoc currently operates nine sites around the town, but is proposing to close Aqueduct surgery, Highfield clinic and Lightmoor health centre.
As part of the reorganisation, they plan to move call-handling out of surgery buildings and into a dedicated centre to free those rooms up for doctors and patients.
But Telford and Wrekin Council’s health and adult care scrutiny committee chair Derek White warned a previous practice merger elsewhere in the town created transport problems, and will ask the borough’s transport portfolio holder what can be done to help patients displaced by the Teldoc closures.
Teldoc business and operations manager Nakash Lewis said patient feedback showed their main difficulties were getting through on the phone and the availability of appointments.
She said changing administrative rooms to clinical rooms would address the problems, but it would be necessary to move admin off-site to achieve this.
Cllr White compared the situation to Sutton Hill medical practice, which he said “collapsed” and was “essentially rescued” by Stirchley medical practice when the two merged, a settlement that required patients to sometimes move between sites for certain services.
“What it has caused is a problem, because we can’t get transport from A to B,” he said.
“Most of our buses from Sutton Hill go to Dawley.
“With these surgeries closing, we need to talk to David Wright to look at how it’s going to affect the people from the areas.
“Because they, Teldoc, are not responsible for public transport. We are.”
Councillor and former MP David Wright was elected to Telford and Wrekin Council in May, and is the borough’s cabinet member responsible for housing, infrastructure and transport.
Telford and Wrekin CCG primary care commissioning committee approved the application for a merger between Stirchley medical practice and Sutton Hill medical practice in January.
The business case document, presented to the CCG by Stirchley mananging partner Tracey Craddock and GP Michael Innes, said the practices, with a combined 23,500 patients, had “worked closely together over the last 12 months, and have a very similar ethos to delivering primary care to the population of South Telford”.
The document added: “This merger will not result in any closure of any premises and patient access will not be compromised by the merger.
“Stirchley medical practice, being the larger site, will offer the patients of Sutton Hill more services, and economies of scale will allow investment in the way primary care is delivered; offering a wide scope of services on a local level.”