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Column 6th September 2017

What exactly is the plan for our local GP surgeries?

The Oxfordshire Growth Board’s Infrastructure Report, which I covered in last week’s column, acknowledges that “Pressure on the existing health and social care sector is acute and will continue to grow”.

In March 2016, NHS statistics show the average number of patients per GP in England was 1,640.

According to this report, in the Vale of the White Horse, the average was 2,527 in 2015. No more recent figures are available.

It reports a total of 314.4 full time equivalent GPs across Oxfordshire and suggests that an additional 133 will be required by 2040 if there is no change to how primary care is delivered.

It doesn’t state how many GPs will retire or leave in frustration during this time and will also need replacing.

It also requires an additional 22,000 sq.m. floor space in surgeries by 2040.

It doesn’t mention the additional services that are likely to be pushed out of hospitals and onto GP practices.

The infrastructure requirements listed in the report do not include the extension to the Mably Way Health centre.

The report also talks about the four hospitals and eight community hospitals in Oxfordshire stating that community hospitals provide care for people who no longer require the services of an acute hospital but require continued care.

It does point out that Wantage Community Hospital is currently closed to in-patients.

It also points out that Oxfordshire has one of the lowest levels of hospital admissions compared to elsewhere in England, but doesn’t mention the number of times that the JR has been closed to admissions recently.

It does suggest that an additional 523 acute beds will be required in Oxfordshire by 2040 at a time when the Clinical Commissioning Group have just announced the planned closure of 146 acute beds.

It acknowledges that the Oxfordshire Transformation Programme is looking at moving care out of hospital and using ‘the best bed is your own bed’ approach where possible. Therefore it is unlikely that the hospital trust would seek to increase the number of beds across Oxfordshire.

I would have thought that this approach would increase the load on GP services.

Social Care in the Vale will also have to increase but there isn’t room in this column to show the detail so I’ll talk about this next week.


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