A LEADING Wirral GP is fighting for the survival of his closure threatened walk-in and minor injuries centre.

Dr Abhi Mantgani is spearheading a people-power campaign to save the much-used unit.

He seems locked on a collision course with bosses at Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group - the umbrella organisation in charge of GPs - who have told him the walk-in and injuries clinic are earmarked for the axe.

Dr Mantgani - senior executive partner at Miriam Medical Centre in Birkenhead's Laird Street - said the proposal is "heading for disaster."

Now a protest petition has been launched demanding the borough's medical chiefs ditch their controversial scheme.

Wirral Council has now "called in" the CCG proposal, meaning it will be examined by a town hall scrutiny committee.

The Miriam is not the only centre in the CCG's sights.

Consultation has also begun over plans to end walk-in facilities at Eastham Clinic, Wallasey Victoria Central, Parkfield Medical Centre in New Ferry and Moreton's Health Clinic.

These local services would be replaced by a centralised base at Arrowe Park Hospital where an "Urgent Treatment Centre" would be set up.

All other clinical services provided at the five under-threat locations, including blood tests, would not be affected.

Dr Mantgani revealed 80,000 patients attended community walk-in clinics last year - 30,000 of them at the Miriam - and warned our readers: "When they're gone, they're gone."

He said: "We have no problem at all with the idea of a UTC opening at Arrowe Park - but not at the expense of our local services.

"There will be serious transportation problems for many of our patients so you will find they will ignore their health issues.

"That in turn will lead to those issues becoming an emergency and putting even more pressure on Arrowe's A&E department."

He continued: "The CCG is making several assumptions about cost and outcomes that are not based on facts.

"It costs around £20 per patient to be seen here yet as soon as they enter A&E that spirals to £75 per person.

"And a two-month audit has shown only 3% to 5% of our patients were referred back to GPs or Accident & Emergency.

"Where is the value in closing a local service that works well and replacing it with a centralised one that costs three times more?

"In other areas where there is an acute hospital, A&E attendance figures have risen on average by 27% over the past four-to-five years.

"But in Wirral that increase has been only 4% "Without the community minor injuries centres, Arrowe Park Hospital would have been completely overrun."

He added: "The success of the Miriam and centres like us may be unacceptable to some in Wirral - but in any other area of the country we would be celebrated.

"No matter how well-meaning this plan is, it is heading for disaster."

Dr Paula Cowan, Wirral CCG medical director, told the Globe last week: "Frequently patients see a nurse in a walk-in centre and they are then referred back to the GP or unfortunately into the emergency room.

“That’s something we really need to avoid.

"So what we are doing is making sure that people are seen in the place most appropriate for their clinical need.

"It’s about creating a simpler system.

“This is not about taking care away from patients – it’s about making a delivery of urgent care more appropriate to their needs, by enhancing the delivery of care for patients.”

Consultation is set to end in December.