It’s good news, I think! It’s a sad reflection on what as gone on between us and the PCT that I have to be cautious about what I have heard. Today the Chair, Chief Exec and an officer came along to our local community forum to update us on plans for our long overdue clinic. It appears that they now favour using our first choice site of Tanhouse Community Centre for either the main clinic or its satellite facility. This would be a joint venture with Sandwell Council. They were anxious to stress that a lot of work needed to be done before they could make any promises. Funding for the facility might not be straight forward because basically this would be the first time a joint venture of this nature has been undertaken. The Chief Exec explained he was aware of the frustrations from within our community at the lack of progress on this and stressed that Great Barr was a priority for them. A lot of people from the floor underlined this frustration both from councillors and public. During a discussion on local doctors attitudes to a clinic Cllr Hosell made what I thought was the most positive observation of the day and that is that it is the patients that come first. If exiting doctors don’t want to work with the new arrangements (and there is no evidence to suggest that this is the case) then we should recruit doctors who do. One of the most positive sides to this is that it will be Sandwell PCT commissioned. News that a HOB clinic planned for neighbouring Handsworth had been put on hold was also good news for us.
From my point of view there were two issues that were not addressed: - no time scale was laid down and no recovery plan tabled. Without these two items being established the group must not sit back and think things are going well. Today we won a battle we have not yet won the war. There is still much to do. We do however now need to consider a change in tactics. I would like to think the confrontational aspects are over and we need to develop a cautious partnership approach to this but just in case be ready. The PCT are promising full consultation as the project moves on and we must ensure that the groups voice is heard during this consultation period. The next forum meeting date of 15th September is to long before we need to talk again.
More I’m sure to follow, but this just might be a win win situation for all concerned.