Elderly will suffer, say protesters as debate rages over future of Tettenhall surgery
Protesters fighting the closure of a longstanding GP surgery voiced their anger at a meeting with health chiefs.
Patients of Wood Road Surgery in Tettenhall Wood clashed with representatives from Tettenhall Medical Practice, which runs the surgery, and Wolverhampton’s NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, who made the closure proposal, at a public meeting last night.
Residents said the move would have a huge impact on Tettenhall which has the highest number of elderly residents in the city, with many being too ill or immobile to travel to the practice’s sister surgery in Lower Green, where patients would be transferred.
The meeting, at Christ Church, also heard from those who argued that patients of Lower Green surgery would also suffer, facing even longer waits for appointments because of the increased workload on their GPs.
The planned closure has been blamed on the inability to recruit enough doctors, due to a UK-wide shortage of GPs.
The meeting, to give residents the chance to air their views, was chaired by Wolverhampton South West MP Eleanor Smith.
The former nurse has backed campaigners, recently handing in a 1,400-strong petition against the closure to Parliament.
Up to 200 people turned out for the meeting, including patient Margaret Richards, who said: “I’m 83 and my husband is 87 and has dementia and prostate problems. We have very early appointments that we won’t be able to get to at Lower Green. It’s worse for the elderly and people with young children.”
Kathleen Pritchard, 70, of Mount Road, said: “A lot of elderly people live here. How are they going to get to Lower Green?”
“I’m lucky my partner drives but there is going to be a time when he can’t.”
Members of the panel voiced sympathy and said it was a very difficult decision for the practice to make.
But there was fury when Dr Martin Ashton from the Tettenhall Medical Practice told people they have to travel whichever surgery they attend.
“There’s not much difference between half a mile and a mile,” he said.
Rita Davies, 68, whose husband is wheelchair bound, reacted angrily telling him: “You try getting a wheelchair up the hill in winter.”
MP Eleanor Smith said: “It’s important that the CCG and the medics from the practice hear what people have to say – and that they listen.”