MINOR injury services and hip and knee replacements in Wiltshire are being reviewed by GPs who will be taking over the responsibility of organising and buying local health services.
Details of the reviews emerged at a public meeting in Devizes on Saturday, which was held to explain the changes in the NHS that are coming in in April.
The main change will be that NHS Wiltshire will be abolished and replaced by Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, comprising mainly GPs, which will have a budget of about £500m.
The CCG is examining all aspects of health care including referrals to acute hospitals in Swindon, Bath and Salisbury and aims to prioritise care in the community.
At the public meeting held in the Corn Exchange, Dr Simon Burrell, a GP in Corsham, said hip and knee replacements in the county seemed ‘very high’ and were being looked at.
In the CCG’s strategic plan, which is available online, GPs in West Wiltshire, Devizes, North and East Wiltshire intend no growth in the number of hip and knee replacements in 2013/14 and for a reduction in such outpatient appointments. In its proposed budget for 2013/14 the CCG wants to save £1.3m by reducing planned orthopaedic surgery.
The same GP practices are also planning for a reduction in attendances at minor injury units in Chippenham and Trowbridge Community Hospitals, according to the CCG’s strategic plan. The CCG’s proposed savings show £300,000 is allocated for reducing inappropriate activity at minor injury units.
At the public meeting Judy Rose, a health campaigner in Devizes, asked Dr Burrell what was being done to provide a minor injury service, particularly in Devizes and East Wiltshire where there is none.
Dr Burrell said: “We are looking at it closely. We are looking at minor injury in Chippenham. “The cost of treating a minor injury in Chippenham is staggeringly high, not many people use the service. “Why have discrete minor injury units? Why not locate a little service in each surgery?
“Is building a large building to provide a minor injury service for a few people a week really worthwhile? We have to think outside the box. “Doing the same that we have always done isn’t going to work. Services in community hospitals have to be looked at again, we have been doing it over the years. “We have to think what is best for the future and not what is best for the past.”