I mentioned in my previous post our local community forum was held yesterday. It was a very interesting and at times fractious meeting.
I suppose there are three very distinct areas in Great Barr and Newton. The area south east of the canal, our bit which is south west and the really posh bit on the north side of the Newton Road.
Oh and yes the man from the PCT came to explain what had happened to our doctor’s surgery.
The really posh bit’s biggest concern seemed to be that the mini bus service on the estate was always speeding. This item along with a lot of others was resolved by asking the chair to write to the bus company. I took along my note book. I don’t need to take notes but I thought it might irritate some councillors and the man from the PCT if I was taking notes. As you can imagine the biggest problem facing our area was the lack of GP services. The man from the PCT gave the standard script which was “the facts” presented to our MP and to myself and our councillors. This despite him knowing there were errors in the information going out. I refer to signage and message service. It seems that the PCT approach is if a doctor or practise manager tell them its fact if the patients tell them its supposition. He used terms like its unfortunate and normal service will be resumed asap but not once did he apologise. The corporate line from Sandwell PCT is: - it’s not our fault guv it’s those nasty people from Heart of Birmingham. If this is true and I doubt it, it’s time the rules were changed in line with the PCT geographically being held accountable. He claimed that we have a perceived view that we do not have sufficient GP cover in our area. Last year a GP closed a surgery and 1200 patients were forced to either go to Birmingham or change doctor. This year 1500 patients are left doctor less or have to traipse half way across Birmingham that is if they can get through on the phone to get an appointment. I wonder what their view of reality is? There’s a great NHS buzz phrase “Patient Centred Care” which is popular amongst labour politicians. Seems to be missing over here in Newton. I pointed out that Sandwell PCT had a clinic at the local church which is only used a few hours a week. This could have been made available to the doctor immediately the surgery was damaged. No one thought of using this asset. I want to know why.
When the dust as settled on this row, heads need to roll, from HOB and Sandwell and I know which one needs to be first and so does he.
I was impressed by our Labour and Lib Dem Councillors who are firmly supporting this campaign. The Tory bloke did his usual look at the ceiling act it’s got nothing to do with them. That side of the canal they have a doctor on almost every street corner. Which is why when the area analyse is done it looks on paper that we have enough cover but because of the way the canal divides our area and the access routes it leaves this side of the canal in effect doctor less.