Agenda item - Public Involvement

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Agenda item

Public Involvement

(a)          A question has been receibved from Ms Liz Williamson (copy attached)


14.1    There was a public question from Ms Liz Williamson. Ms Williamson was unable to attend the meeting and the question was asked on her behalf by Mr John Moore. Mr Moore asked:


“The HOSC has a responsibility to oversee health provision in the city. So far 10 GP surgeries have closed leaving Brighton and Hove with the lowest ratio of GP to head of population in the South East. The CCG revealed earlier this year (June 2019) the ratio as currently 1 GP: 2526 patients in Brighton and Hove compared to a national average 1:1780.


Currently many people are very concerned about the impact of the proposed closure of Matlock Road surgery. The CCG engagement meeting seemed to dismiss patients concerns in their response. For example, the transfer of patients to Beaconsfield practice affects those who do not drive and do not have a free bus pass. It will cost these people £5 to get 4 buses for a return journey from the Matlock area every time they need to get an appointment at the Beaconsfield practice. Regarding these concerns:-


·         Can the HOSC make representations to the CCG to take on the lease of Matlock Road surgery and rent the premises to GPs who may be interested in taking on the practice?


·         Can the HOSC ask the CCG to attend the next HOSC meeting to present their case for the development of primary care provision over the coming year and how they are going to ensure equality of access to provision in an increasingly unequal primary care landscape?


·         Can the HOSC raise the transport issue with the relevant Council Committee and also raise it with the CCG as it was raised as an important issue at the consultation meeting?


·         How is the Council together with the CCG going to improve the ratio of patients to GPs in the city which will inevitably worsen when Matlock closes and the current GP approaches retirement in Beaconsfield practice?”


14.2    The Chair responded:


Thank you for your question.


Regarding the Matlock Rd lease, This was explored at the July 2019 Health & Wellbeing Board and my understanding from reading the notes from that meeting is that the Matlock Rd practice advertised for, but was unsuccessful in attracting, a GP partner following the retirement of one of the practice partners. The remaining partner considered that the surgery was unsustainable as a single-handed practice, hence the merger with Beaconsfield Rd. Given this, there may not be a realistic prospect of attracting a new provider at Matlock Rd even if the CCG were to take on the lease. The HOSC does not have available to it detailed information regarding the financial viability (or otherwise) of the Matlock Rd practice in its current form. As a result it is not well-placed to make recommendations to the CCG which could expose it to risk without a realistic prospect of success.


In terms of equality of access, we have a report on primary care in Brighton & Hove at this HOSC meeting. I do agree that the issue of equity of access to GP services is important and this is an issue I shall raise when we consider this item, and if necessary at future meetings.


In terms of transport, my understanding is that the CCG has attempted to address the transport issue by signposting Matlock Rd patients to other local GP practices which are further from the Matlock Rd area than the Beaconsfield Rd surgery, but which may be more accessible by public transport. While I am happy to raise this issue again with the CCG to see if anything more can be done, the matter is not one that it is within the power of a Council Committee to resolve.


In terms of patient ratios, the Council does not directly employ GPs and has no obvious influence on the GP to patient ratio. However, the Council is working with the CCG to develop Primary Care Networks across the city. These Networks will bring together multi-disciplinary teams, including GPs, nurses and social workers to provide better services for local people. The aim here is to give people swift access to the professional help that they need. This might be a GP, but depending on their health or care requirement, it might equally be a nurse, a pharmacist, a social worker or a physiotherapist. Ultimately, the ability to access the right care at the right time is a better determinant of the quality of local health and care services than the number of GPs employed locally.


14.3    The Chair asked Mr Moore if he had a supplementary question and Mr Moore responded that he was sceptical about the sign-posting to Matlock Rd patients of alternative GP practices as he had not been contacted. He asked that this issue be raised again with the CCG. The Chair promised to provide a written response to this question.



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