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.