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Top Tory councillor blasts Dudley health chiefs after clinic closure shock
1:09pm Wednesday 16th October 2013 in Local
DUDLEY'S Conservative leader has slammed borough health bosses after they admitted not knowing about big changes at medical centres.
Cllr Patrick Harley blasted Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) as incompetent for not being aware physiotherapy clinics in the north of the borough had moved to larger health centres.
The combative councillor threw down a challenge to CCG chiefs to meet him and see for themselves where clinics had been closed after the organisation claimed no changes had taken place.
Cllr Harley said: "They don't know it's already happened? that is totally incompetent. These people look after heath provision in the area, if they can't run simple checks that is shameful.
"They need to get out of their ivory towers, these services were removed in mid-August.
"There are no physios in north Dudley, they are all at Dudley Guest and Brierley Hill."
The Tory councillor says closures left patients with mobility problems to face long and sometimes difficult journeys to appointments which would otherwise have been in their neighbourhoods.
The CCG is run by GPs and purchases physiotherapy services from Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust.
It confirmed a review is under way and a GPs' meeting this week will decide if moving physiotherapy services is a good idea.
Dudley CCG spokesperson, Laura Broster, said, “We have recently been approached by the provider of this service to see if we would support them in changing the way in which the service operated.
"This change would see a reduction in the number of clinic sites, currently 19 down to eight, these are spread across the whole geography of Dudley.
"It is our understanding that no service change has taken place yet, as a review of these locations is currently underway. As commissioner, we recognise that there may be some benefits to reducing the number of locations which could create efficiencies in the service and bring waiting times down."
The CCG stressed it was not planning to reduce funding for physiotherapy and there would be a public consultation prior to any change.
Paula Clark, chief executive at Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, said: "To improve the service we offer our patients, we have carried out a review of physiotherapy services taking into account the demand on clinics and where patients live and travel to attend to for their appointments.
"Overall these changes would reduce waiting times for patients and provide a more efficient and clinically-led service."
However Cllr Harley claims in the north of the borough seven clinics have already gone without any consultation.
He said: "The horse has bolted and the stable has fallen down - they must have been asleep. If they can't get this right what else are they going to mess up?"
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