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Residents hit out as GPs prepare to take over finances from NHS
10:00am Sunday 22nd April 2012 in Devizes
Concern was raised over a lack of a Minor Injury Unit at Devizes Hospital at the meeting organised by MP Claire Perry
Townspeople vented their anger at the loss of health facilities in Devizes over recent years and were offered no assurances for the future when GPs will take over the purse strings from NHS Wiltshire.
A public forum organised by Devizes MP Claire Perry to discuss the controversial changes to the NHS was attended by more than 100 people.
The forum, at Devizes Bowls Club on April 11, had a number of speakers including Tony Barron, chairman of NHS Wiltshire, Dr Martin Foley, a GP at St James Surgery in Devizes, and Maggie Rae, director of public health in Wiltshire.
In April 2013 NHS Wiltshire will be abolished and a Clinical Commission-ing Group, comprising mainly GPs, will be responsible for a large part of NHS spending in the county.
People attending the forum were unhappy that Devizes no longer had a Minor Injury Unit – NHS Wiltshire closed it along with other units in 2007 – and plans to build a Primary Care Centre comprising the three GP surgeries in town had faltered due to a failure to agree on a location and cost.
Mr Barron said Devizes Hospital’s Minor Injury Unit closed because not enough patients used it.
He said: “If you have a low throughput staff lose their skills and it’s an expensive animal to run. The GPs are going to find exactly the same question the PCT faced for the last five years. Statistics need to prove the need, not the want.”
A woman in the audience said the population of Devizes had doubled in the last 20 years.
Dr Foley said he had not yet considered whether a Minor Injury Unit for Devizes could be re-established and warned that if it was proposed it would have to compete with health demands in other towns in Wiltshire.
“We have to balance our needs with limited resources we have with the needs of Calne, Melksham and Westbury and all other towns in Wiltshire,” he said.
Mrs Rae said her team could provide information on where patients in Devizes get treated for minor injuries and suggested that Devizes Area Board discusses the issue of a Minor Injury Unit.
The meeting was told that should the Primary Care Centre proposal be resurrected it would take at least three years for it to come to fruition.