The Conservative Party were elected in 2015 on a manifesto which included the following statements:
“This Manifesto … is a plan for a better future – for you, for your family. It is a plan for every stage of your life.
“Throughout, we will make sure that if you or your family fall ill, you will always be able to depend on our cherished National Health Service to give you the care you need.
“We will continue to integrate the health and social care systems, joining-up services between homes, clinics and hospitals.
“We will cap the amount you can be charged for your residential care – so you can have the dignity and security you deserve in your old age.”
Ed Vaizey MP reported a couple of weeks ago the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Sustainability and Transformation Plan for Health Services in Oxfordshire was released by the Clinical Commissioning Groups. This supposedly sets out the local plan for the NHS for the next 5 years but is a little short on details.
For example, it mentions “the development of community hubs based around GP populations and bed based services across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West will mean that patients will have reliable and sustainable access to high quality evidence based services closer to home”. Yet as Mr Vaizey pointed out our Community Hospital (still clear of legionella) remains temporarily closed and our GP practices have been refused the money to expand to cope with the growth in population.
The plan talks about the configuration of acute hospitals (the JR, Stoke Mandeville and the Royal Berkshire) and the fact that “96.1% of the population is within 60 minutes drive-time of acute services.”
The map in the document shows that the area around Wantage and Faringdon is a large part of the 3.9% further away from acute services and there is no mention of any plan to improve this. As usual we are the poor relation for any form of public service. Also the plan doesn’t mention the guidance from the JR which suggests allowing at least an hour to find parking when you get there.
We are told that there should be a public consultation on this document but if it’s anything like other recent health service consultations we aren’t optimistic of it being anything other than lip service.
Members of the Wantage and Grove Councils and the Save Wantage Hospital Group have written their own survey which should be delivered to every home in OX12 next week so check your junk mail before you throw it away and fill in the form please. This may be the only chance we have to influence local NHS plans.