MP Barclay calls for more localised healthcare and increased funding for Fenland

MP Steve Barclay

MP Steve Barclay - Credit: Archant

Fenland’s medical practices are underfunded and children in need of mental health services are having to wait too long for help, an MP has claimed.

North East Cambs MP Steve Barclay, in a Commons debate on localised healthcare, said March’s Cornerstone practice receives just £62.50 per patient, significantly less than the county average of £75 to £80 and barely half the £120 received by Cambridgeshire’s highest-paid practice.

Addressing the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health Daniel Poulter, Mr Barclay said: “Within Cambridgeshire the area with the highest health needs is the area that gets the least money. The clinical commissioning group needs to reallocate funding.”

Sixty-five per cent of the children who need mental health services must wait longer than 18 weeks, MP Barclay said.

He said: “It can lead to self-harm and even to suicide, and can damage life chances by affecting exam results, for instance.

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“Furthermore, there are still problems relating to the handover from adolescent to adult mental care.

“The issue of mental health simply must be addressed if we are to tackle some of the health inequalities in North East Cambridgeshire and if we are to meet the challenge in relation to the reshaping of our services.”

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Patients continue to travel to hospitals for appointments that could take place in the community or their own homes, Mr Barclay said.

He said: “That would save them transport and parking costs, be less exhausting and more convenient, reduce the risk of secondary infections in hospitals and increase the likelihood that family and friends could support them throughout the pathway of their treatment.

“I opened St George’s surgery in Littleport last month where oncology services are delivered in the community by Addenbrooke’s nurses.

“Instead of the patients travelling to Cambridge, the nurses come to deliver those services in a more convenient and friendly setting.

“But where is the drive to ensure that model is now rolled out by Hinchingbrooke nurses into Doddington, by Peterborough hospital nurses into Whittlesey, by King’s Lynn nurses into the North Cambs hospital?

“Where is the urgency, while cancer patients continue to make those journeys at cost — in petrol, parking, tiredness and other ways?

“It is time that we accelerated that change to meet the challenge set out.”

MP Barclay described the current delivery of patient services as “illogical” and a “waste of money”.

He said: “Patients in Cambridgeshire are being admitted to hospital for five to seven days simply to have antibiotics three times a day, when we could train community nurses to deliver that service in the rural community.

“That is not only a huge waste of money but we are putting patients at risk of secondary infections in hospital, as well as providing a less convenient service for them.

“When some areas of the country have shifted in that way, I cannot see any reason why it has not been adopted in Fenland.

“It is simply illogical that we still require patients to be admitted for such a straightforward treatment.”

To reduce the amount of ambulance journeys and the cost of hospital admissions, machines could be installed in GP surgeries to carry out blood tests, Mr Barclay said.

He said: “If someone has a suspected blood clot, they are often put in an ambulance and sent to hospital.

“Yet for just £3,000, we could have machines in GP surgeries to provide the results straight away.

“It would not take that many saved ambulance journeys and the cost of admissions to hospital to start to pay that back.

“It might be that businesses in the community would be willing to work with the GP practices to deliver that equipment, but the leadership is not accelerating the roll-out of such an approach.”

GPs are being put under undue pressure because there are not enough health trainers implementing health programmes in Chatteris, Doddington and Manea, MP Barclay said.

He added: “GPs continue to undertake work that could be prevented through better use of other NHS resource, lightening our GPs’ workload and streamlining part of their workload through the use of equipment and better IT.

“Innovation is needed so community health care, which is currently languishing in the slow lane of change, can deliver the more patient-centred, localised treatment that will provide not only the best possible clinical outcomes for patients in North East Cambridgeshire, but the best possible value for money.”

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