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Column 13th December 2017

The latest GP plans aren't bad, but we need better

A couple of weeks ago I talked about the future plans for primary health care in

South West Oxfordshire, including GP practices in Abingdon, Didcot, Wantage, Faringdon, Berinsfield and Clifton Hampden.

Since then combined NHS/GP planners have worked very hard to produce a draft plan for our South West Locality.

Am I a cynic or if they have produced this in less than two weeks was it written already and the consultation workshops were just for show?

The plan is available for further comment until 17 December 2017, and we are invited to give our views on the priorities in the plan, the expansion or introduction of new services and any gaps.

The plan gives a number of statistics relating to the “Clusters” of which the Mably Way Practices are one.

The bad news is that we are already 1,500 patients over capacity and if nothing changes will be 7,000 over capacity by 2022.

The good news is that with the exception of Dementia the 'Wantage Cluster' has relatively good health in comparison with the other areas.

The housing growth planned for the Wantage and Grove areas over the next 10 years will amount to around 20,000 new patients. Currently both Wantage practices are working with the Clinical Commissioning Group to look at utilisation of existing space, reconfiguration and extension of the health centre.

This is likely to take at least 3 years.

There is a clear ongoing requirement for Wantage to have space for physiotherapy, midwifery, community nursing and visiting consultant clinics and if these are not to be provided at Mably Way then space will have to be found elsewhere.

We suggested in the previous column that Wantage Community Hospital should be used in the short term to house some of these services.

The population of 85+ year olds is expected to double by 2030 and there are excellent plans for elderly/frail patients but this must be integrated with a study of transport capabilities, as no matter how good facilities are they are useless if the elderly and frail cannot access them.

The bus services do not go near the villages (or many of the roads in Wantage and Grove) and most don’t go down Mably Way so the Wantage Independent Advice Centre transport service and the Wantage Community Bus will be the only transport available.

Currently if a patient in Wantage needs to travel by public transport to the Oxford hospitals complex they need to allow about 2½ hours for travel each way.

Comments can be submitted until 17 December.


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