COMMENT: Westwell of Ely

Ely Standard columnist Rosemary Westwell.

Ely Standard columnist Rosemary Westwell. - Credit: Archant

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group, is on our case. Well Tracy Dowling, chief officer, in the reply she gave to some of my questions seems to think so. I beg to differ.

Our health care is vital for our existence. Our NHS is supposed to be free at the point of delivery. We have been paying and we still are paying national insurance contributions for this service. Whatever is said, there is money available - otherwise how could they suddenly find so many extra millions to shower on a new elected mayor?

I ask, why isn’t the CCG considering our opinions as it is supposed to? Tracy Dowling’s answer starts: “Our five-year Sustainability and Transformation Plan was published in November 2016.”

This is not exactly what I would call responding directly to a patient.

How can larger practices be responsive when doctors who do not know their patients have to spend so much time learning about the patients’ histories first, often on overloaded computer systems?

In her answer she says: “Some practices have been discussing the benefits of merging, federating or sharing staff.” Pardon? Wouldn’t this make matters worse?

How do elderly patients who do not drive get to their doctors if they are so far away? The answer starts: “accessing health services is important to us…” but continues ‘as we develop our STP’ (Sustainability and Transformation Plan), we will continue to engage with local authorities…’ (sigh)

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If Witchford is described as a large village because it has, among other services, a doctor’s surgery, where is this surgery I ask?

Her reply said that there is one just three miles away. Is she expecting the elderly villagers to walk three miles to see a doctor?

Or to wait for over an hour for a bus that may or may not come on time to get to the appointment? If she must quote the STP, in case she hadn’t noticed, it says “you (patients) want care as close to home as possible”.

What is being done to cope with the influx of people in the new developments that are crowding our villages and city? Her solution to this? This may mean “doing things differently”. Why not simply increase the provision?

What seems paramount in the minds of Tracy Dowling and those who are supposed to be looking after us, is making up important sweeping strategies that seem to have little or no relevance to us at ground level.

We don’t need or want “sustainability strategies”, we simply need and want doctors’ surgeries close to hand. The only finance that should matter is that patients come first, other frills, like super wages and pensions for the bureaucrats should come last.