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Column 29th November 2017

Recent improvements (or not) to local GP services

Last week I attended a workshop entitled “Developing GP services and a locality place based plan for South West Oxfordshire” organised by Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group.

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

They explained the challenges that the GP practices face were lack of investment in premises, lack of integration between health care and social services and the increasing (and increasingly elderly) population.

Nothing new there then – we knew that in 2013 when NHS England told a planning inspector that the expansion of the Mably Way Health Centre was imminent.

Nothing has happened since.

They talked about a new model of GP services being focused on:

- Expansion of premises,

- Expansion and integration of clinical workforce (GP’s, community staff, social care workers, shared therapists, visiting consultant clinics and diagnostics).

- Efficiencies through shared services

- Integration of clinical records

- Explore using technology in healthcare e.g. skype appointments

- Improving health outcomes for frail patients through improving preventative care, providing additional staff for urgent home visits and,

- Expansion of ambulatory care meaning patients are assessed, diagnosed, treated and go home the same day, without being admitted into hospital overnight.

This list sounds great but there was no information on how it is to be funded or when any of it will be delivered.

We asked what this meant for Wantage and Grove given that our practices are creaking at the seams and were told that plans for the expansion were being discussed and something would be announced in the New Year.

Haven’t we heard this before?

How many people have to suffer unnecessarily because our GPs are overwhelmed and unable to provide the care that we require, before the expansion to the Health Centre actually happens?

More people are not contacting their GP and just going straight to A&E but the JR Hospital had to close its doors to new patients on one day a couple of weeks ago because there were too many people waiting for treatment.

Perhaps we need to move some GPs into Wantage Community Hospital as a short term fix?

After all, the Physiotherapists have moved out so there should be plenty of space.


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