Campaign up date.
My humble little blog was picked up by our local freebie newspaper The Great Barr Observer. I’m flattered and delighted that my readership has expanded and that they felt the story was newsworthy. Their headline “Plans for new £5M medical centre on hold” sums up the situation very well and the story was well written and factual.
My thanks to them for following it up and publishing. There are some aspects of my earlier post I need to deal with first. Our MP Tom Watson has continued to ignore the problem. In terms of practical help from him we can assume it is not going to happen. Fortunately two political champions have emerged in the form of Cllrs Joyce Underhill and Dave Hosell. A dialogue of sorts has started with the PCT and council and we have names for their responsibilities. It is strange that I could not get a response from my email but the press got a direct quote from Jon Dicken deputy director of commissioning at Sandwell PCT concerning the use of the Tanhouse Centre: - “The Tanhouse centre is one of a number of sites subject to further work by the Primary Care Trust, to assess suitability and potential for a new Neighbourhood Health Centre. The PCT will continue to work with local people to establish a preferred site”. Now isn’t that strange and a complete about turn since our Neighbourhood Forum. Then the official line was all sites considered none suitable no others under consideration and no they were not working with local people they were just telling us. So perhaps just perhaps they will now start to work with us and by that I mean our local councillor champions and myself.
On the very evening the Observer article went to press a headline in our evening newspaper The Express & Star read: - "Three GP surgeries move a step nearer". The story concerns new GPs in Great Bridge, Wednesbury and Langley/Rood End with a new health centre in West Bromwich as a bonus. Chief Executive of Sandwell PCT is quoted as saying “with three new family doctors surgeries and a new health centre people in Sandwell will have greater access to the services they need when they need them. This is a major step forward in our plans to provide more choice and access to primary care services across Sandwell” That is of course unless you live in Great Barr & Newton where we have the continued threat of loosing doctors. West Brom already has a new health centre at the Lyng why do they need a second in preference to a mere clinic in Great Barr? The logic does not make sense if you live here. I would like to invite Mr. Bacon to meet with Cllrs. Underhill, Hosell & myself to explain why and for us to explain why the distribution of services in Great Barr is wrong because clearly the PCT do not understand the geography of the area or the demographic dispersal of the older population in respect to the canal and its significance. We need some further assurances from the top that the clinic is going ahead with fixed and clearly visible dates for start and finish that they can be held accountable for.
A general observation though, the best politicians are not in the council chamber or the benches of the commons or dressed in Ermine they are working for PCTs up and down the country.
Watch this space we are going to continue with this campaign until our clinic is a reality.
My sincere thanks to Nick Horner, Joyce Underhill and Dave Hosell for their support with this campaign.