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Nearly 15,000 patients affected as CCG considers closing three practices

Some 14,700 patients face the risk of being displaced as a CCG in the Midlands considers the future of three practices.

The practices are all operated under APMS contracts due to expire in March next year, with NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG consulting on their future.

The affected practices are the Malling Health centres in Sandwell and Great Bridge, West Bromwich, both run by Malling Health Ltd, and the Summerfield Primary Care Centre in Birmingham, run by Virgin Care.

Regarding the Malling Health centres, the CCG consultation document said that neighbouring practices ‘may be able to accommodate new patients’ but added that ‘there would potentially be additional pressure on other local practices by registering new patients’.

The CCG consultation document also said that new housing developments, which will mean 1,800 additional households, will increase pressure on primary care.

The practices, which provide care to 4,859 and 4,282 patients respectively, were both taken over by Malling Health Ltd – now part of Integral Medical Holdings (IMH) Group – in 2009.

Meanwhile, Summerfield Primary Care Centre was taken over by Virgin Care in 2014 and its APMS contract was extended until 31 March 2019.

The practice serves a population of 5,565 patients but NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG said ‘there are six other GP practices that are within a mile away, which is approximately a 20-minute walk’.

This CCG, which is also due to consult on the future of Parsonage Street walk-in centre and the Summerfield Urgent Care Centre, said the reviews are ‘part of a wider transformation of health and social care services in Sandwell and West Birmingham’.

CCG chair Dr Nick Harding said: ‘High-quality primary care is crucial for improving outcomes and our GP practices are achieving significant successes by working effectively together.

‘Our strategy has been built on the feedback we have received from patients, their carers and their communities over many years.’