Residents reassured GP surgery is staying open after Black Country healthcare merger

A health boss has moved to reassure residents that a change in how healthcare is organised in the Black Country will not mean the closure of a GP surgery.

Moss Grove Surgery In Kinver. Photo: Google Maps
Moss Grove Surgery In Kinver. Photo: Google Maps

Moss Grove Surgery in Kinver was transferred to Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in April last year.

However the Dudley CCG has now merged with its Walsall, Wolverhampton and Sandwell and West Birmingham equivalents to form the Black Country and West Birmingham CCG.

Members of South Staffordshire Council have raised concerns that residents using health facilities run by organisations across the border in Dudley may fall through the gaps when it comes to accessing care services run by organisations in their home county.

And there were also fears for the future of the Kinver surgery at a meeting of the council's wellbeing select committee meeting.

Councillor Lin Hingley, who represents Kinver, said: “People are worried that eventually Kinver may close, like Pattingham did. That’s a big worry to people, they keep asking me.”

Neill Bucktin, Dudley managing director for Black Country and West Birmingham CCGs, responded: “No, that’s not the case whatsoever.

“I was contacted a week ago by one of your officers – he’d heard that the surgery was going to close. I was concerned to check that out properly. I discussed it with the GPs involved and that isn’t going to happen.”

Councillor Hingley also highlighted an issue faced by a local patient. She said: “We’re having a bit of trouble with conversation with other people. A lady came out of hospital and she was told that every day a district nurse would come in and change her dressing. Nobody came and I don’t know whether this is to do with having our district nurses in Wombourne, or are we having district nurses coming from the hospital?”

Councillor Kath Perry said: “This has been an issue for some time now with CCGs across Staffordshire. Because some residents have to use services outside of our area, such as hospitals, when they come back in sometimes there is a delay on getting the help that they require.

“I want to flag this up with Neill to make him aware that this does happen sometimes and I hope it is not going to happen with the surgery at Kinver. It’s cross-border facilities that we provide, as opposed to the hospital provision.”

Mr Bucktin said: “If anything, we want to try and improve on that.

“At the moment, because of the impact of Covid, the NHS been focused on managing Covid for the past 12 months and we’ve been discouraged from making some of the changes to contracts that we might have ordinarily made. At the moment we can’t make any further changes until at least October.

“One of the things we would like to do is for district nursing and the bulk of community-based services for that population in Kinver to be provided by a Dudley-based provider. So then, if a patient goes into Russells Hall Hospital and is then discharged back to Kinver, they will be followed up by a Dudley-based district nursing team rather than a Staffordshire-based team or team based anywhere else.

“Our expectation is that would remove some of these anomalies that might exist with people potentially falling through the cracks.”

The meeting was told there had been “no real changes” to the way services had been provided to Kinver residents since April 2020, despite the recent CCG merger.

Patients of the Kinver practice needing hospital services can use those provided by Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Russells Hall Hospital, as well as Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, which runs New Cross and Cannock Chase hospitals.

A number of other health services for district residents are commissioned by Staffordshire County Council, such as adults and childrens’ social care, health visitors and substance misuse support, while community mental health and learning disability services are provided by Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Committee chairman Councillor Joyce Bolton said: “Cross-border services has been an issue for a very long time because we haven’t got a hospital in South Staffs. When we use the services in Wolverhampton and in Dudley, when patients get discharged or require services that come from outside the area, they’re often lacking and patients get quite distraught about the lack of communication that seems to occur.

“Hopefully that will be looked at carefully in the future.”

Councillor Roger Lees said: “Up to 40 per cent of the population of Kinver have a GP registered outside of Staffordshire. Therefore, as soon as people come out of acute hospitals, there are problems getting the services to follow the patient. It does need one sole provider to look after them all.”

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