Minor injury services and hip and knee replacements in Wiltshire are being reviewed by GPs who will be taking over the responsibility of organising and buying local health services.
Details of the reviews emerged at a public meeting in Devizes on Saturday, which was held to explain the changes to the NHS that are coming in in April.
The main change will be that NHS Wiltshire Primary Care Trust will be abolished and replaced by Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), comprising mainly GPs, which will have a budget of about £500m.
The CCG is examining all aspects of health care including referrals to acute hospitals in Swindon, Bath and Salisbury and aims to prioritise care in the community.
At the public meeting held in the Corn Exchange, Dr Simon Burrell, a GP in Corsham, said the number of hip and knee replacements being carried out in the county seemed “very high” and were being looked at.
In the CCG’s strategic plan, which is available online, GPs in West Wiltshire, Devizes and North and East Wiltshire intend to reduce outpatient appointments for these operations. In its proposed budget for 2013/14, the CCG wants to save £1.3m by reducing planned orthopaedic surgery.
The same GP practices are also planning for a reduction in attendances at minor injury units in Chippenham and Trowbridge Community Hospitals. The CCG’s proposed savings show £300,000 is allocated for reducing “inappropriate activity” at minor injury units.
At the public meeting Judy Rose, a health campaigner in Devizes, asked Dr Burrell what was being done to provide a minor injury service, particularly in Devizes and East Wiltshire where there is none.
Dr Burrell said: “We are looking at it closely. The cost of treating a minor injury in Chippenham is staggeringly high, not many people use the service.
“Why have discrete minor injury units? Why not locate a little service in each surgery? We have to think what is best for the future, not for the past.”