The Humble Petition of the Rt. Rev. Neville Chamberlain (Master of Hugh Sexey's Hospital) and others of like disposition,
That Her Majesty's Government's plans for the re-organisation of primary care in the country, with particular reference to rural areas such as theirs, will dramatically effect the way in which General Practice is currently organised and funded, and will severely harm the services they currently receive from their excellent local surgery.
As residents of Hugh Sexey's Hospital, a remarkable retirement home, where the average age of the residents is 80+, and where every effort is made to remain self-sufficient and independent (constantly advocated as a desirable object), the loss of their local surgery would be catastrophic.
Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your Honourable House shall call on Her Majesty's Government to reconsider its plans, and treat each differing area, urban and rural, to detailed consideration, with particular reference to the needs of vulnerable groups in each community, and not allow public money to be taken away from local NHS surgeries and given to private companies.
And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, &c.—[Presented by Mr. David Heath, Official Report, 26 March 2008; Vol. 474, c. 5P .] [P000160]
Observations from the Secretary of State for Health:
My Department will bring this issue to the attention of Somerset Primary Care Trust (PCT) to ensure that such decisions are made in consultation with local stakeholders, including local patients and clinicians. PCTs are responsible for organising local health services in ways that reflect the needs of their local population.
The Government is not trying to impose a 'polyclinic' model that would see smaller GP practices move into the health centres alongside a range of ancillary services. PCTs may wish to develop this model if it is appropriate for their area. However, what the Government is proposing nationally is the procurement of new and additional GP services, to add to and complement existing provision.
Somerset PCT, like every PCT in the country, will receive additional resources from the £250 million access fund to procure a new GP-led health centre service this year following the commitments made in Lord Darzi's interim report.
The Department of Health is currently working with PCTs and strategic health authorities to develop a communications and stakeholder engagement plan that articulates in more consistent and compelling ways the rationale for the primary care procurements, emphasises the degree of local flexibility and addresses some of the common misperceptions about centrally imposed requirements.