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Consultation under way for health changes in Dudley
12:38pm Tuesday 8th October 2013 in News
DUDLEY'S out-of-hours medical care could be in for massive changes including the axing of a busy walk-in centre.
The Holly Hall centre, on Stourbridge Road, may close if Dudley's Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) decide on new ways to provide urgent treatment.
Around 50,000 patients visited the walk-in centre between April 2012 and March 2013, a third more than the service was designed to cope with, and 18 per cent said they visited because their GP's surgery was too busy or closed.
Dr Steve Mann, clinical lead at Dudley CCG, said; “We have recognised for some time now that the current system is not working as well at it could. This has been further endorsed by the public, telling us that they want a system that is much easier to understand and navigate when they cannot access their GP practice.
“Our preference is for people to use their GP practice for non-emergency medical needs as this is the best place for the majority of our population."
Non-emergency patients are also putting pressure on the Accident and Emergency department at Russells Hall Hospital where 32,000 people are treated each year for minor conditions - nearly 30 per cent of the total number of patients dealt with at the unit.
The CCG has launched a 12-week public consultation and says now is the right time to consider a change because their contracts with Primecare, the company which operates the walk-in centre, are coming to an end.
Paul Maubach, CCG chief accountable officer, said: "Due to the complexity of the situation, there is no intention in the short term to close the current walk-in centre without an alternative in place."
"During this consultation we will take the opportunity to review the current service specifications."
Stuart Turner, chairman of Dudley Health and Well Being Board, said: "We have not got all the detail I would like, we are seeking clarification - we need some more meat on the bones.
"We need to make sure this is in the interests of the people of Dudley and what comes after is better than what we have got at the moment."
The CCG is planning a number of public drop-in sessions around Dudley borough, for more information, including how to joint the consultation, visit www.dudleyccg.nhs.uk/urgent-care
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