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Cllr Sonia Barker's statement to the Gt Yarmouth and Waveney Joint Health Scrutiny Committee, delivered Friday 13th November 2015.

Mr. Chairman thanks

I am speaking here today as a Waveney District  & Suffolk County Councillor for Pakefield, as Leader of the Waveney Labour Group, a former NHS employee. Remembering my  late mother who only found the diagnosis and care for her cancer at the GP Unit at Northgate after a major struggle by her family to find her a bed.

I went to two of the 'Consultation' evenings at Halesworth & Southwold where many questions were asked and some were answered. I also attended the Gt Yarmouth & Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Governing Body meeting at their HQ in Beccles last week to hear the CCG vote unanimously to make the following recommendations to their Steering Group for Implementation.

  • Closure of the GP Community Beds at All Hallows Hospital Bungay (this does not mean the closure of the Hospital)

  • Change in the use of Beccles Hospital

  • Closure of the GP Unit at Northgate Hospital Gt. Yarmouth

  • Closure of the Patrick Stead Hospital Halesworth

  • Closure of the Southwold Hospital*  (*Already temporarily closed due to safety for patient concerns)

Andy Evans, Chief Executive of the Gt Yarmouth & Waveney CCG, said at the meeting that the above mentioned actions will only occur once the following are up and running:

  • NHS funded beds with care will be provided in local nursing and residential homes and these will be provided to NHS quality & safety standards and will be closely monitored

  • Out of hospital teams will be based in new community hubs across the area.

  • The CCG will work with local providers to make sure services are tailored to the needs of the local population

  • The CCG will work with local providers to make sure staff are appropriately supported throughout the changes.

I have serious concerns about the accountability of those taking such momentous decisions on behalf of the residents of Gt Yarmouth & Waveney:

Firstly, we do live in a democracy and yet those who are taking these decisions on the CCG are not elected to office and cannot be removed by a vote of the residents of Gt. Yarmouth & Waveney if the plans they propose do not work.  Which is why the role of the Gt. Yarmouth & Waveney Health Scrutiny Committee is so crucial in this case.

Secondly during the meeting the Chair of the CCG said before the vote was taken that 'he was not going to let 2.4% of the population of Gt. Yarmouth & Waveney undermine the changes that were needed'

I now quote from  the papers tabled at the meeting of the CCG last week:

Community Hospitals – Proposal 2:  There was strong support for retaining GP community hospital beds in all four of the hospitals with c56% disagreeing with the proposal to close these hospital beds.  It is felt that these hospitals are needed.  There was support for the proposal to change the use of beds at Beccles hospital.  However there was also concern that these would not be enough and that the location was too remote for many.”

So on their own evidence the majority of the people who responded to the 'consultation' were against the closures voted for last week. In other words the Chair and the CCG Group were totally dismissive of the objections of all the people who attended the 'consultation' and also those who wrote in to register their concerns.

In addition the 'option appraisal workshop' held  on the 13th October, 2015  was quoted a lot last week as evidence of support of the CCG proposals and yet if the membership of the workshop is scrutinised it is hardly representative

42 attendees to the workshop – only one was an elected member  from WDC who has responsibility for health – where was the reflection of the community that the Gt. Yarmouth & Waveney CCG purports to serve and represent.  The CCG should be leading on `joined up health and social care' yet where were the Social workers, the nurses, the physios, the occupational therapists & mental health workers and their input?

Finally I would ask the Gt. Yarmouth & Waveney Health Scrutiny Committee to scrutinize the following:

  • To whom is the Gt. Yarmouth & Waveney CCG accountable?

  • How democratic was its decision making last week?

  • Was the decision making based on evidence?

  • How will a privately run local nursing and residential home be accountable to patients locally and the NHS.

  • What if the local nursing and residential home closes,  which NHS service locally takes up the patients if the hospital serving that area is already closed?

  • Southwold Hospital is already closed due to the destabilising effect on staff of the 'consultation'. How long will it take for a local 'hub' service to be set up to serve patients in Southwold?

  • Will patients from Gt. Yarmouth find that they are placed in residential homes far from their family or to Beccles where beds are located?

  • Why is there a lack of projected information on the proposed hospital beds needed by 2025 to prepare for  an increasing elderly population in the Gt. Yarmouth & Waveney area.

  • There will be a difficulty in accessing patients in their own homes from 'hubs' in a rural setting, and increasing problems attracting the qualified staff needed to Waveney (in rural areas) for the proposed changes to work. How will this be addressed by the CCG?

  • What risk assessment has been undertaken to assess these proposals.

  • Finally and the biggest question of all how much money will be saved by enacting the proposed changes agreed by the Gt. Yarmouth & Waveney CCG last week.

Thanks for listening.












Hospital closures voted through despite over 1000 objections

Cllr Sonia Barker's statement to the Gt Yarmouth and Waveney Joint Health Scrutiny Committee, delivered Friday 13th November 2015. Mr. Chairman thanks I am speaking here today as a Waveney...

Cllr Jane Murray's statement to the Gt Yarmouth and Waveney Joint Health Scrutiny Committee, delivered Friday 13th November 2015.

Good morning my name is Jane Murray and I am both a resident of Oulton Broad and a Waveney District Council Councillor for Oulton. I am speaking on behalf of the residents of Oulton and Oulton Broad.

The people of Oulton were informed about the closure of Oulton Medical Centre by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) on 13 CQC took this action due to lack of progress made by the practice following an “inadequate” rating in March and was then put into special measures. This was followed up with another inspection in September and as a result of this inspection, the CQC went to court and applied for a Section 30 order of the Health and Social Care Act and with immediate effect had the practice closed down.

I have been advised that support was given to the practice between the two inspections but do wonder how much and whether with more effective support given by “outstanding practitioners” and a sufficient number of clinical and clerical staff, this closure could have been prevented.

However, as a result of this closure over 2,500 additional patients were directed to the Bridge Road Surgery. Although assurances have been made by the Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group that additional doctors and nurses are being recruited to help alleviate the pressure, doubt and outrage is felt by residents affected by this closure. Many of the patients are disabled, elderly and vulnerable people. Transport to the surgery is an issue as a reduction in transport services has had an effect on Oulton and the surrounding areas. Established patients of Bridge Road Surgery have also been affected by this closure. Not forgetting the pressure this has caused for the staff at Bridge Road Surgery who not only have their own patients to look after on top of the burden of the annual seasonal flu injections, they now have to go through Oulton Medical Centre patients’ records, checking repeat prescriptions and basically starting from scratch with every patient. Another 2,500 patients in South Lowestoft are being cared for by the Victoria Road Practice as a result of the closure of the Marine Parade and 800 new houses to be built at Woods Meadow. The pressure mounting on other local practices to cope with the additional workload is simply unacceptable.

I have conducted drop in sessions and attended Parish Council meetings in Oulton and have been asked several questions that illustrate the concern and anger of local people. As advised by Andy Evans on 29th October 2015 the contract with Bridge Road Surgery to take on patients from Oulton Medical Centre is for a period of 3 months. There are then plans to disperse patients. Patients need to know what is going on in this period of 3 months and what plans are in place to ensure that patients are allocated to suitable practices. Simply dispersing patients to other surgeries without appropriate reference to those affected shows a cavalier contempt for their needs interests and concerns.

I understand that an on line questionnaire has recently been given to the 5,000 patients affected by these closures. It offered 3 options for the long term resolution, with what appears 2 options being ruled out. I wonder how many people have actually filled in the questionnaires and what about those patients that don’t have access to computers.

I know that this meeting is an opportunity for the public to make a statement, but many residents cannot attend during the day due to work commitments. I urge the CCG to hold an evening meeting for the residents to allow them the opportunity to ask questions and to be better informed about the future of their medical needs.

Waveney Labour call for public meeting on closure of Oulton Medical Centre

Cllr Jane Murray's statement to the Gt Yarmouth and Waveney Joint Health Scrutiny Committee, delivered Friday 13th November 2015. Good morning my name is Jane Murray and I am both...

Residents I’ve spoke to since the closure of Oulton Medical Centre are shocked and concerned about the loss of their local GP practice.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) will reveal the full reasons for the closure in due course. However, it is unfortunate that it appears that Oulton is just the most recent victim of the GP shortage crisis. Right across the country, there is a shortage of GPs. Many have closed because they’ve been unable to recruit new doctors.

Rather than closing voluntarily because of shortages, Oulton Medical Centre became the first practice in the country to be closed under emergency powers by the CQC. GP Online, reporting on the closure said: “they had been unable to recruit a permanent GP. This placed many demands on the two GP partners.”

Just like the teaching profession, this government – through dangerous politicking and its catastrophic top-down reorganisation of our NHS – has sent morale plummeting in the medical profession. This government has created a GP workforce crisis by training fewer GPs, whilst many older doctors take early retirement because of the added bureaucracy imposed through the top-down reorganisation.  

In some areas, almost forty per cent of GP posts in England remain unfilled. This is unsustainable and dangerous. Unless we wish to see a repeat of events in Oulton, it’s paramount that we act now. In Waveney, all levers of power are held and exercised by the Conservative Party.

On behalf of Oulton residents, I therefore ask the Conservative Waveney District Council, Conservative Suffolk County Council, Conservative Member of Parliament, and Conservative Government, what they plan to do to tackle the GP crisis here, in Waveney.

Cllr Jane Murray

Labour Councillor for Oulton 

 

Cllr Murray on Oulton Medical Centre closure

Residents I’ve spoke to since the closure of Oulton Medical Centre are shocked and concerned about the loss of their local GP practice. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) will reveal the full...

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