Tettenhall Residents Rally Against GP Closure

July 17, 2019

It’s no secret that in many areas, getting a GP appointment is becoming more and more difficult, with many doctors booked out for weeks in advance and lengthy queues each morning to get emergency appointments.

A large part of this is down to the shocking number of local surgeries closing in the last few years, with 138 shutting their doors for good in 2018.

On Thursday 11th July, over 150 people gathered at a public meeting in Tettenhall to discuss the planned closure of the nearby Wood Road GP surgery.

Local NHS bosses are proposing merging services with the “nearby” Lower Green surgery. However, this is over 1 kilometre away, up a steep hill with no continuous pavement, poor public transport links and inadequate parking for the existing patients and staff! And with new sheltered accommodation under construction in the area, the demand on local medical services is bound to increase in coming years.

Current users of the surgery made these points vocally clear to the heads of the practice and the Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group, which oversees NHS services in the city. Over the course of an hour and a half, under persistent questioning, the panel dropped their initial arguments about being able to provide better quality care by merging the two sites, and admitted that a lack of funds played a part in the decision.

It emerged that the practice pays a five figure sum annually to the NHS’ wholly owned subsidiary for managing property for cleaning and security services. Yet another example of marketisation in the health services creating inefficiencies, as both clinical and non-clinical staff spend more and more of their time and budgets on overheads created by the “internal market”.

While local GP surgeries are forced to consider cost cutting measures which put patients’ health at risk, every year the NHS pays out £2bn interest on PFI contracts. Time to kick the profiteers out of public health without compensation, and fund decent care in every area, free at the point of use!