Leaders write to GPs to poll opinions amid Shrewsbury health hub row

Civic leaders have written to doctors to gather their opinions on a controversial move to shut six surgeries down and amalgamate them into a hub.

Councillors Julian Dean and Kate Halliday have written to GPs
Councillors Julian Dean and Kate Halliday have written to GPs

NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin want to move six practices into a new Shrewsbury Health and Wellbeing Hub in Meole Brace - a change that would affect 45,000 patients in the town.

Belle Vue's Labour councillor Kate Halliday and Porthill's Green Party councillor Julian Dean have written to GPs working at surgeries affected, asking for their opinions on the move.

They said: "We have had many residents contacting us with concerns, especially around the accessibility of the proposed site, but also to do with the level of service that will be provided.

"The proposed site is heavily reliant on car use with poor public transport and active travel routes. Have you received any assurances from the NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin ICS with regard to ensuring the proposed site is easily accessible by public transport, walking or cycling? Are ICS managers or Shropshire Council making proposals to support public transport provision to your knowledge?

"Councillors have been told that the hub will be able to provide more appointments across a wider range of services than are currently available. Our understanding is that this is based on a hoped-for improvement in recruitment and retention. Have you been presented with any evidence to support this view?

"Would you expect all GPs in your practice to continue working under the new arrangements or is there a possibility of some taking the opportunity to retire or reduce their hours?

"Have you been given details as to the range of services that will be accommodated in the hub?

"We have been told some of the current buildings are not fit for purpose. What work has been done to establish the state of your current premises, the options for on-site upgrades or comparison with costs of relocation? Has this also considered the carbon footprint impact of relocation?

"In your opinion, will the personal nature of the doctor-patient relationship, valued by so many, survive unharmed with a collation of surgeries from many different parts of town?"

The letter comes after a Lib Dem-organised protest against the health hub outside Shrewsbury Town Football Club last Sunday. The proposed location for the health hub is on land nearby in Oteley Road.

Health bosses insist the move represents "significant investment" in GP services in the town, and doing nothing is "not an option".

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