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CCG closing walk-in centres and minor injury units despite GP opposition

Almost 90% of the GPs in Wirral have opposed the CCG’s plans to close the region’s walk-in centres and minor injury units.

NHS Wirral CCG announced a consultation in September which included closing two walk-in facilities in Eastham and Victoria Central, as well as three minor injuries unites in Birkenhead, New Ferry, and Moreton.

Under the plans, these will be replaced with one, GP-led urgent treatment centre (UTC).

But according to a survey conducted by the NHS Wirral GP Federation, 89% of practices do not support the plans.

When asked whether this will improve wait times for patients, 73% said it will only make the situation worse, while less than 4% said they predict an improvement.

Respondents also said they disagreed with NHS Wirral CCG’s claim that more GPs at the UTC will be able to mitigate the added pressure, and 67% said there weren’t enough GPs available to do this.

The GP leading the petition, Dr Abhi Mantgani, said the federation does not oppose setting up a UTC. But they do not believe it is wise to close the walk-in centres and minor injuries units because one UTC will not have the capacity to see the 80,000-100,000 patients seen by the current services each year.

He added that while Wirral GP Federation only represents 25 of the 51 practices in Wirral, the survey is representative of the entire region because it was sent to all 51 practices and had a 95% response rate.

A spokeswoman for NHS Wirral CCG said: ‘Whilst we encourage surveys to assist us in shaping the delivery of urgent care, the specific nature of the questions did not address the overall proposals for delivering urgent care across Wirral.

‘The urgent care system is perceived as difficult to navigate. Our aim is to improve its delivery, ensuring that patients are seen in the most appropriate place to meet their clinical need at a time suitable to them.’

Earlier this year, the BMA warned that the closures of practices across the country is becoming ncreasingly problematic for patients.