Proposals that could see the closure of all or some of the current of Birmingham’s 8 urgent care centres are being prepared for public consultation in the Autumn by the Cross City Clinical Commissioning Group. Urgent care is where an illness or Injury is urgent but not life threatening.
The Urgent care centres received a total of 322,058 annual visits at the last count . The busiest NHS walk-in centre is at Katie Road in Selly Oak which received some 64,000 visitors and is the only centre south of the city centre. The next busiest centre is Summerfield with 52,000 visitors.
The CCG claims there is considerable difference in the level of service available across the 8 centres, some of the centres are nurse led and others are GP led, and there some are differences in opening hours.
The CCG says it wishes to move toward “streamlined, integrated services which avoid unnecessary hospital admissions, enable timely discharge and support people at a time of crisis”.
The avoidance of hospital admissions is identified as a major way of saving money by the CCG which has significant savings targets this year and next equivalent to 3% of the overall CCG’s budget. The projected savings target for 2017/18 is £32.9m. These intended closures are cuts led proposals.
The options favoured by the CCG would involve the closure of the majority of walk-in centres and retaining a rump of 2 or 3 centres which would be co-located alongside Hospital Accident and Emergency Departments.
There are major access issues for the public with these closure proposals particularly given the size of Birmingham. A significant reduction in the number of centres will significantly impact on the ability of poorer people who are in poor health and dependent of public transport to seek care when they need it.
The transformation plans for Urgent Care in the city are part of the wider Sustainability and Transformation Plan for the Birmingham ‘footprint’. The STPs are a response to the funding crisis imposed on the NHS by the Coalition and present Tory Government to force a more effective and co-ordinated approach to the massive cuts required of health services.
When similar closure plans were initially brought forward in 2013 there was significant opposition from local people who use their Walk In Centres forcing the CCG to shelve their plans for the best part of three years.
More information on these plans can be found from the following online sources:
CCG presentation to the Health, Wellbeing and Environment O&SC:
Webcast of Scrutiny Committee meeting
Cross City CCG report Development of an out-of-hospital integrated urgent care system (p 49 onwards)
Keep our NHS Public Birmingham has recently been set up in the city to fight the privatisation of NHS services and to oppose cuts in health services. They can be contacted by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org