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GP ‘super practice’ will not happen despite Shrewsbury surgery closure

By Lucy Todman | Shrewsbury | Health | Published:

Health chiefs have ruled out building a ‘super practice’ to deal with an increase in people needing a GP – despite plans to close a surgery in Shrewsbury next month.

Whitehall Medical Practice

Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group says it does not have any plans for such medical practices in the county.

In questions posed regarding the September closure of Whitehall Medical Practice, in Monkmoor, Shrewsbury, the CCG said: “The CCG does not currently have any plans to influence the development of such practices in Shropshire although there is a national drive towards primary care at scale and the introduction of primary care networks.”

In a report to Shropshire Council’s Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee, the CCG answered a number of questions put forward by the group campaigning to keep the surgery open. The CCG says that a clear and straightforward consultation process was followed and that letters regarding the consultation and proposed closure were sent to all the patients registered by the practice. This is disputed by those patients.

Patients also claim they are still unable to register at other practices within Shrewsbury. The CCG said: “Any patient who has not registered with their choice of new GP practice by early September will be allocated a new GP practice, via NHS England, to ensure that everyone has continued care from September 30.”

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David Vasmer, councillor for the Underdale ward, where the medical practice is based, said: "As in previous reports the CCG does not make it clear that their decision to close the Whitehall Medical Practice was made in private and there was no opportunity for members of the public to lobby when it is public money they are using. Nor is there an apology or mention of the fact that most people found out from local media that the practice would be closing since the letters to patients arrived late.

"When other CCGs have faced the problem of a local surgery closing I know that they have explored with other practices the possibility of one of the remaining practices taking over the one that is closing. There is no evidence from this report that this was done. Why not?

"I am very concerned about the number of patients that have still not registered with another practice. That means by the time Whitehall closes at the end of September there could be over 2,000 still not registered. I cannot see how the CCG are going to be able to register such a large number with other practices overnight.

"Overall the report gives the impression that the CCG is secretive and complacent. We need a clinical commissioning group that is proactive in securing the best GP services for the people of Shrewsbury and Shropshire. That is not the case at the moment."

Whitehall Medical Practice is closing after the CCG failed to find a new provider to take over the contract currently operated by Malling Health.

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman
@shroptod

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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