New Health Centre for Saxmundham
Suffolk Coastal Primary Care Trust rejected the One Stop Shop project
at their April board meeting in the Market Hall, Saxmundham on Wednesday
27th April 2005.
UPDATE ON SAXMUNDHAM HEALTH
ONE STOP SHOP
Over 200 people turned out on a snowy February 23rd at the Riverside
Centre, Stratford to attend the Suffolk Coastal PCT Board meeting.
This was the meeting at which it had been publicly announced that
the Board were going to make the decision about the Saxmundham proposal.
The Chairman put this reason forward for not attending the
public meeting in the Market Hall. However the Agenda was changed
during the previous week and the long awaited Business Case on the
Northern Area was removed and only a discussion not a decision was
to be allowed on the future of the Saxmundham project. Understandably
this caused a lot of consternation and the Chief Executive made
the unprecedented decision to allow the local MP to take over the
first part of the meeting. For two hours John Gummer took questions
from the public and directed them to the PCT Officers. A further
apology was issued by Carole Taylor-Browne and a commitment to work
with the Practice so that a FINAL decision could be taken at the
April meeting. A Non-Executive Board member insisted that the Officers
should advise the Board in March if there was any reason at all
that might prevent a final April decision. The Board went on to
consider whether they should approve the stripping out of the clinics
and enhanced services from Saxmundham and moving them to Aldeburgh
Cottage Hospital so that more core service could be provided at
the current Surgery. The paper suggested that Aldeburgh should be
classed as a One Stop Shop but this was rebuked by public and Board
alike and was not approved. Pete Rowberry announced to all that
the Brook Farm Residents Association were seriously looking at launching
a Judicial Review about the decision making process that led to
Saxmundham being the bottom of the six projects thereby losing out
on the Government funding of last December.
We now find ourselves in
the last preparatory phase before what must now surely be the final
decision in April. We have met the new Finance Director Julian Herbert
along with Anne Taylor the Clinical Director and there does seem
to be a more positive sense of purpose. In the present financial
climate, it seems likely that there will be a further reduction
in the area rented to the PCT but the detail is yet to be discussed.
We hope, after all this time, to gain the approval of Carole Taylor-Brown
and the other Officers of the PCT so that the Board can give the
official approval to proceed in April. The Officers seem less attracted
to the Birthing Unit and, at the time of writing, do not seem keen
to pursue this valuable adjunct to the One Stop Shop. We will continue
to try to persuade either the PCT or Ipswich Hospital to take this
on as we are convinced it will both save money and be a great local
asset. It is very rare for patient choice, better outcomes and saving
money to go together in the NHS but this is just what we have in
the Saxmundham Birthing Unit. Common sense seems to suggest that
co-location with the Ambulance Station, the Out of Hours Base and
even the Nursery would be sensible to say nothing of the Clinics,
the Children's Centre and even the Café. A Birthing Unit
would be new to Suffolk and two Birthing pools are planned. National
evidence shows it to be safe with dramatic reductions in interventions
like Caesarian sections and forceps as well as better breast-feeding
rates and lower post-natal depression. We have to fight the argument
on the financial case as qualitative benefits sadly take second
We are on the last lap
now but still need a surge of power if we are to make the line!
All the Partners would like to take this opportunity to thank
all the residents and patients who have consistently promoted this
vision as it would just not have been possible to get this far without
your enduring support. We hope some of you will be able to attend
the 'final' meeting on Wednesday 27th April.
January 2005 update
Following a very successful
meeting on Thursday 13th January, the One Stop Health Shop featured
on the Politics Show on BBC1 at 12:30pm on Sunday 16th January.
Dear Saxmundham Resident,
You probably will have read in the paper or seen on BBC News that
our plans for a new One Stop Shop have been abandoned by the Chief
Executives of the Suffolk Primary Care Trusts. They tell us that
they are following the recommendation of the County Premises Group
who are working to a 'robust' scoring system that assesses each
project around the County fairly. However they admitted that they
did not take account of the training that takes place in Saxmundham
particularly of Inger, the Nurse Practitioner, and Stuart who is
the Emergency Care Practitioner trainee. They also said that we
were not over-crowded and yet neither seem to have taken account
of the nine hospital clinics that are time-tabled nor the clinics
for Health Visitor, Nursery Nurse, Midwife or Community Psychiatric
After over three years of work with Social Care and other partners
we cannot just accept this decision which has been made confidentially
and cannot be appealed against. Our project has already been published
in the NHS's own magazine 'Primary Care' as an example of excellence
and has also won a grant for the Nursery worth £267,000 and
so must be held in high regard in certain quarters. How can we have
central acclaim and yet local rejection?
We need to put pressure onto the Department of Health to get them
to exert some influence over the PCT. To this end it is very worthwhile
writing to the Health Secretary Dr John Reid at Richmond House,
79, Whitehall, London SW1A 2NL . If enough people complain then
they will respond in the same way that the people of Sudbury reversed
a decision to close Walnut Tree Hospital.
Please drop a line with your Christmas 'thank you' letters and either
let us know at the Surgery or give us a copy so we are aware of
what size of response has been generated!
Thank you and don't forget, it is your future Health and Social
Care provision that is being decided here.
John Havard, Paul Murphy, Julie Evans, Mike Hamblyn, Hilary Dunn
The Surgery Lambsale Meadow Saxmundham Suffolk IP17 1AS
Charity no. 1051772 (Associated with Suffolk Social Services)
A further step has been
taken towards obtaining the financial commitment from the NHS which
would allow the One Stop Shop development to enter the building
stage. At a meeting earlier this month, the Chief Executives of
the five Suffolk Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) agreed to fund around
70% of the total costs of the General Practice part of the building,
albeit with a few design modifications.
The implications of this are:
We need to redraw the plans to allow a phased approach to the General
Practice component, with Phase 1 being a little more compact than
in current plans. The architects have made a start on this process
and we expect to agree details with the Suffolk-wide Premises Group
2. The Practice has drawn up Business
Cases for some of the additional areas, such as the Birth Centre,
which show that savings can be made in the shift of some work from
the acute Hospitals to the One Stop Shop. The PCT has now to ratify
these Business Cases.
3. Market research is being carried out
on the potential users of the Training and Education Suite to try
to estimate future income. This suite is planned as comprising a
very large meeting / training room, plus two smaller "break out"
rooms, and would be available to hire in part or whole by local
businesses and the community.
Enquires regarding the Training & Education Centre should be directed
to Jan Cameron via email firstname.lastname@example.org
or by ringing Hollie Farthing at the Surgery.
Background & History of the 'One-stop shop'
Why a new health centre?
Even with our current list size, we have inadequate space. With
the large number of new homes going up in the area, this problem
can only get worse.
We urgently need rooms for:
an additional GP
an additional nurse
our attached paramedic
the District Nurses and
other attached staff to see patients
additional Hospital Outreach
Our Dispensary is also too small - limiting the number of people
who can work there at any given time - and many of you have commented
on the over-crowded Car Park.
What is being proposed?
After consultation with all those who work here, with patients,
with Suffolk Coastal PCT and with other local services, we concluded
that what Saxmundham needs is a "One-Stop Shop", to incorporate
as many local health and social services as possible. Thus we would
like to include:
Playgroup & crèche
Suffolk Doctors on Call
The the current plan is
available in the Waiting Room.
We wish to incorporate a large car park,
and have special Disabled bays and drop-off points. By housing these
services under one (long!) roof, we firmly believe that patients
will benefit considerably.
Where will the new centre be built?
We have investigated 13 potential sites within the immediate area,
but in most cases have met with insurmountable problems. Some plots
are too small, others too expensive; some have poor access, others
- while seeming ideal - have been earmarked for other purposes.
The plot for which we have put in
a planning request is the area bordered by North Entrance and the
Sports Club, just to the North and West of our present premises.
This area was densely
planted with conifers, grown as a cash crop and recently felled.
The fencing along North Entrance is dilapidated, and the plot was
littered and unsightly. Many local residents have expressed concern
about walking past it in the evening.
This site has several advantages:
Access to it by car is
excellent; the roadway is straight and limited to 30 m.p.h.
It is not far from the
town centre for pedestrians, and is on the side of town which has
seen most new development.
It is well situated for
Kelsale residents, who form a large percentage of our patients.
There is good access
from the site for Suffolk Doctors, and for the Ambulance station.
It would provide a comfortable
and peaceful location for both patients and staff.
Public opinion can sway the planners.
Individually phrased and written letters have more impact than letters
written to a template, and so we would very much appreciate it if
you could write to express your (hopefully positive!) views and
give reasons why you support the choice of site. Some possible reasons
are mentioned above. Please ensure you include the Planning Reference
|Reference Number: C02/1677
Planning Department (North)
Suffolk Coastal District Council
Thank you very much indeed for your assistance.
Dr John Havard & Partners
Tel: 01728 602022.
I have slightly updated
the above report but it still refers to the outline planning application.
A detailed application (C03/2047) was approved by Suffolk Coastal
Distrct Council on 4th April 2004.
Saxmundham Town Council. 4th April 2004.