Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group’s primary care committee today (Tuesday, 7 February) approved the decision not to renew the contract of Malling Health Wrekin, and will now look to reinvest resources into local GP practices in anticipation of the practice closing at the end of July.
Malling Health Wrekin currently provides a GP Walk-In Centre (WIC) service and has 8,000 registered patients; however, a recent assessment found that the facility will be unable to adequately serve the future needs of the local population. In addition, a recent survey found that the building, which houses the practice, is in poor condition and no longer fit for purpose, requiring a huge investment to keep it operational.
As such, when the contract runs out in July, it will not be renewed. Instead, the money that would have been spent on the practice will be invested into existing GP sites, which have better facilities to provide for the needs of the population.
The 8,000 patients who are currently registered at Malling Health Wrekin will be fully supported by the practice and by Telford & Wrekin CCG to ensure that they are registered with another GP by the time that the WIC closes at the end of July.
Other practices in the area have been alerted and are ready and able to take on the additional patients, so no one will be left without a GP. Special care will be taken to ensure that patients with a disability, or complex health needs are transferred to a GP who is able to provide for their condition.
Patients currently registered at Malling Health Wrekin will receive a letter in the post, which will provide full details of where, and how, they can register at an alternative practice, and patients will be able to choose the one which best suits their needs.
Patients, who would prefer to wait for the CCG to allocate them a new GP practice, are able to remain with Malling Health until July. The CCG will write to patients before this date to confirm their new GP Practice.
The CCG have carefully reviewed the existing capacity within the primary care system and have established that the existing practices will be able to accommodate all 8,000 patients from Malling Health Wrekin, without any impact to the service of those already registered with other practices.
Given these extra GP places are available, it is unlikely that there will be increased pressure on the county’s A&E services, with patients likely to book a GP appointment, rather than visit the emergency department.
Dr Jo Leahy, Clinical Chair of Telford & Wrekin CCG, said: “It is understandable that the decision to close the practice at Malling Health Wrekin will be met with some apprehension, but we will reinvest the money in other practices to provide the best and most appropriate care for the local population.
“Given that the centre requires a £500,000 refurbishment and a multi-million pound replacement in the next three years, we feel the money would be better spent on existing practices with modern and up-to-date premises, which can be enhanced with further funding.
“The walk-in service was designed to provide for people who are not registered with a GP in the local area or who cannot get an urgent same-day appointment at their practice, but our research found that it was not fulfilling this purpose. Because of this, we think that care for the people of Telford and Wrekin would be improved most by reinvesting the resources in existing GP services.
All patients registered with Malling Health Wrekin will receive a letter advising them how to register with another GP after 7 February, and help to do this will be made available.
Any patients with immediate concerns can contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS):