Black Country and West Birmingham CCG has opened four new primary care hubs designed to provide extra support for patients with respiratory illnesses.
The hubs – located in Sandwell, Walsall, West Birmingham and Dudley – will support GP practices by offering same-day, face-to-face appointments for people suffering from respiratory illnesses.
Initially, the hubs were used to treat children with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) – a winter virus that can lead to hospital admissions in babies and vulnerable adults – but have since expanded to offer appointments to children and some adults.
According to the CCG, the hubs have been provided as part of a £6.4 million investment to create extra capacity in general practice in response to ‘record levels’ of demand for appointments, the group says.
Dr Tania Hussain, Primary Care Clinical Lead for Maternity, Children and Young People, commented on the new hubs: “Health services saw an earlier than usual upsurge in RSV prior to winter, as fewer people had built up natural immunity during the pandemic.
“As RSV primarily affects children, we knew there would be an increased demand for face-to-face appointments for children and infants. To meet this demand, we implemented the RSV hubs to create additional capacity to ensure children could be seen by a GP straight away.
“Since the first hub opened its doors in January, we’ve seen thousands of patients benefit from this service, which is fantastic. In fact, many of the hubs are now seeing children and adults with a variety of respiratory or viral illnesses including flu, bronchitis and norovirus, to help ease the pressure on GP practices.”
Dr Tehmina Rahman, GP and Lead for the Sandwell Hub, added: “We opened the Sandwell hub in January specifically for young children under the age of six who we suspected had RSV. The hub has been so successful that we’ve since extended this to cater for all children under the age 12 with any respiratory or viral illness.”