Patients' group lodges petition over healthcare changes in Wooler
A petition opposing changes to healthcare provision in Wooler has gathered over 200 signatures.
Plans for a new musculoskeletal (MSK) and pain service in Northumberland do not include the provision of a physiotherapist in the Wooler GPs’ surgeries.
MSK patients in Wooler have been told their local service will stop at the end of June, after which their treatment would be at Alnwick or Berwick Infirmaries.
Harry Wilson, Glendale Patient Practice Group (PPG) chairman, said: “Many of the patients currently seen in Wooler are elderly or disabled and would find it difficult to travel to Berwick or Alnwick, especially by public transport.
“A petition launched by the PPGs to delay or reconsider the closure of the Wooler services has collected over 200 signatures in just two days.”
NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group, in a statement, said: “Current physiotherapy services are not affected by the new musculoskeletal (MSK) service called Joint Musculoskeletal and Pain Service (JMAPS).
“Patients receiving physiotherapy treatment for example for neurological or respiratory need, or frail elderly patients will continue to be able to access these services in their current setting.
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“The new service will result in some changes to where MSK treatment is delivered; however, it will ensure all patients across the county have equal access to high quality NHS services.
“The current community MSK services are not available to all Northumberland patients and, where they are, there are different models of care.
“Patients will be able to access JMAPS either through their GP or self-refer. All referrals will be triaged within 48 hours and a face-to-face appointment within 15 days if required.
“By introducing new ways for patients to access advice this will reduce the need to travel for short appointments. JMAPS will continue to offer traditional physiotherapy however, the emphasis will be on self-care which will result in less face-to-face appointments.
“The service will run out of a range of sites across the county with the aim of providing a range of clinic and group exercise spaces across the region to ensure they are local and easily accessible for all.
“These sites are as follows: Alnwick Infirmary, Berwick Infirmary, Rothbury Cottage Hospital, Wansbeck General Hospital, Morpeth NHS Centre, Blyth Community Hospital, Hexham General Hospital.”