The future of the Wilson GP surgery and Walk-In Centre, CR4 4TP, is under threat, as Merton CCG plans to close these services on April 1st 2017.
YOU CAN READ THE CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN SIOBHAIN AND MERTON CCG BELOW:
You can sign the petition against this closure here.
- Original letter from Siobhain 25.1 - download here
- Response from Merton CCG 31.1 - download here
- Response from Siobhain 13.2 - read it here
- Final response from Merton CCG - 9.2 - download here
- Siobhain's letter to the Health Secretary - read it here
Siobhain organised a public meeting on January 31st, which was attended by hundreds of local residents, who expressed their outrage at the plans.
You can read Siobhain's letter below.
Dear Dr Murray,
The future of the Wilson GP surgery and Walk-In Centre
I am writing to ask you, once again, to drop your plans to close the Wilson GP Surgery and Walk-in Centre. As you will know from last night’s public meeting this view is shared by hundreds of local residents, from 19 to 93 years of age, who turned up in the pouring rain to make their voices heard. I implore you to listen to them.
The points you made at the meeting show there is no need to close this centre:
• Money remains with the patient so there are sufficient funds to keep it open at no extra expense to the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)
• GPs are difficult to recruit, have low morale and are leaving the profession. This surgery and walk-in practice can provide a full roster of GPs who are enthusiastic about their work and have been judged as one of the best in the country • Alternative surgeries can be two bus journeys away, so are inaccessible and have little parking. This centre is easy to get to for patients and has great parking.
• Patients using this service would otherwise go to A&Es at St George’s or St Helier Hospitals and would be more expensive to treat.
• The new surgeries you are suggesting currently recommend The Wilson GP centre and Walk-in Practice to their current patients.
You felt there were three barriers that prevented you keeping The Wilson open, all of them can be easily overcome -
This morning I again checked with Merton Council Leader Stephen Alambritis and he tells me that Merton has not received any planning application from you to extend the use of the site for a health centre. This contradicts the information I was given by one of your CCG officers who said a planning application was submitted by you two months ago. I find this difficult to understand, so please can you send me a copy of this application today. If you find the application was not submitted please explain how this misinformation came about and I will forward your letter to all who attended. I am sure you wish to clarify this matter.
Councillor Alambritis tells me if an application is received he will treat it as a matter of urgency. He asks that you call him immediately today on his mobile. If, for any reason, you can’t get through call me and I will help you.
You explained to local residents that you could not extend the life of the centre without procuring a new contract. There is only one answer to this - please start the procurement process immediately! If you cannot currently do so in the timeframe I am happy to use my office as the Member of Parliament for Mitcham and Morden to get a meeting for you with the responsible Government Minister or the Chief Executive of NHS England.
I also heard the interchange between yourself and Mr Roger Norman who was until recently Clinical Theatre Manager at St George’s. I agree with him that there is no problem with you finding appropriate mobile equipment for blood tests and X-rays and, as you explained, this is treated as capital expenditure and does not come from your revenue budget. However, if this does not prove possible than it’s better to have a great centre without these facilities than no services at all.
Development of site
I have spoken to two local developers who both know The Wilson site well and have worked on sites with far great constraints. Contradicting your information, both tell me that it is perfectly possible to keep the centre open at the same time as developing the wider site. I am not suggesting for a minute that these developers should undertake the work but surely it would be sensible for you to meet them and hear an alternative opinion.
Drop these ill-considered plans
You have stated your ambition of creating a new centre on the main Wilson Hospital site, encompassing such diverse elements as a Citizens Advice Bureau, Job Centre, meeting rooms and art classes. I have to say that on the evidence from our ongoing dialogue and last night’s public meeting, I believe there is no coherent or workable programme for delivering this or the healthcare local people so need and deserve.
Just as I do not believe you will deliver this new centre of your dreams I also do not believe you will or can relocate the 5,900 patients from this GP practice nor the thousands each year who use the walk-in centre. I know this from three sources; the number of complaints I receive across Mitcham and Morden about access to current GP services, the evidence from residents at the meeting and because you have only been able to re-locate 300 out of 5,900 patients thus far. For information, many patients who have moved to new GP practices, as advised in your letter, are now getting in touch with me to complain. In one case an elderly lady saw her GP application ripped up in front of her face by a new receptionist who told her she was out of their catchment area!
I was born and raised in this community and have lived here all my life. I listen to local residents and have been campaigning on this very issue since the 1980s. I stood on picket lines against the closure of The Wilson Hospital and afterwards for this GP practice and walk-in centre to be opened. It is a matter of record and shame that your organisation chose to invest the millions of public money it had at its disposal in the most affluent area of Merton with the least health need and not at The Wilson or St Helier Hospital. You are now proposing to take away the little my community has, which is a fully functioning and brilliant GP and walk-in health centre.
I say to you again I am willing to do everything I can in my power to overcome all barriers you face in keeping The Wilson GP Practice and Walk-in Centre open. Please call an urgent meeting of your committee to overturn this decision, something you can do right now as Chair of the CCG. Please also call me and I am ready to help.
There is no shame is admitting you made the wrong decision but there is great shame in pursuing a reckless course of action to the detriment of the health of local residents who work hard and pay their tax and national insurance.
On behalf of the residents of Mitcham and Morden I urge you in the strongest possible terms to drop these ill-considered and damaging plans, and work with me to find a better way forward.
In all good faith,
Siobhain McDonagh MP
Get involved in our campaign by signing the petition below.