Thursday, 18 September 2008

Primary health care

I’ve been having my own private battle with my Primary Care Trust over their treatment of our area. We lost a doctor 12 months ago and although initially they said he would be replaced they later claimed they could not fund a new doctor because of the way funding with neighbouring PCT was held. We in Sandwell are supposed to be getting three new surgeries funded by new government money. Now surprise surprise a new surgery is not coming to Great Barr. I want to know why.
We have one surgery which is a branch of a doctor some three miles away in Birmingham. Recently this branch was forced to close without warning because of a failure of heating system which brought down a suspended ceiling The upshot is we now do not have effective GP services in our area.
We were not aware of this until the misses needed to contact the doctor. No message on the answer machine or what to do. A visit to the surgery was no help either because it was locked up and no notice to tell patients what was happening or what to do. I understand there have been queues of patients waiting.
I think it’s time some political pressure was put on our PCT to meet their duty of care. I don’t blame the doctor or his staff because the PCT own the building but they could have dealt with it better. I firmly blame our PCT who despite having had one doctor leave they did not effectively deal with GP services in our area. I have emailed my MP to advise him on what is going on and been in contact with my local councillors. I must say I’m impressed with Dave Hosell who is in touch with the neighbouring PCT who are holding the funds and with Joyce Underhill who is also on the case. I understand Cllr. Hosell is arranging an offer of temporary accommodation at our local leisure centre. Perhaps now we will get the impetus needed to get GP services put on a properly funded basis befitting our needs. My email to the relevant people at our PCT prompted a detailed reply to our MP with a copy to me. Unfortunately the facts were not correct because I had checked a couple of hours earlier. Intriguing, I’m sure there will be much more on this story. We have a local forum this morning where one of the agenda items is health care. I do hope they send the man from the PCT to explain why.

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