Health fears after Tettenhall surgery closure threat
Patients could be at risk of deteriorating health care if an under-threat GP surgery closes, a city politician has warned.
Wolverhampton South West MP Eleanor Smith has raised concerns health services will "not be up to the standards" expected by patients if Tettenhall Medical Practice merges its branches.
It comes as she plans to chair a special public meeting over proposals to shut the Wood Road surgery and “centralise” services in Lower Street.
Ms Smith said: "I'm saddened by it. My position is to save the NHS, I have seen how it has been eroded over time.
"People need their local services, they are important. We have to think about our elderly people. It's a community service and should be there.
"No surgeries or any services that are offered to patients should be closed. For patients to have their nearest surgery close and have to travel further, it's not good."
More than 4,000 patients are at risk of travelling further or will be forced to find another surgery if the Wood Road branch shuts.
Spiralling costs, difficulties in recruiting permanent medics and a national shortage of GPs have all been blamed for the decision.
Ms Smith revealed she has written to Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group after patients approached her with their fears.
Concerns included attempts to recruit extra GPs and increased pressure on the Lower Green branch if services were to merge, as well as traffic woes.
Elderly patients are also worried about growing travel costs, with one resident claiming a return taxi journey to Lower Street can cost up to £10.
The Labour MP, who previously worked as an NHS nurse, added: "I'm aware there is a shortage of staff and GPs but it's not good enough when we have patients saying they are going to have to travel and it will cost.
"We need to look at ways of recruiting staff, including practice nurses. There can be different ways of recruiting in a GP practice.
"Residents need to get involved because it's a service they could lose and once it's gone, it's not going to come back."
A 90-day consultation on the proposed closure of the branch, which stopped taking new patients in April, is due to end on July 28.
All six Conservative councillors representing Tettenhall are also said to be concerned about the possible closure of the surgery.
More than 550 people have now signed an online petition calling for the surgery to stay open, with a public meeting expected to take place at Tettenhall Wood's Christ Church on July 11.