Tim East, county and district councillor for Costessey.

128 days and waiting: When will health bosses answer question over GP surgery funding?

Saturday, December 8, 2012
4.22 PM

Health bosses have taken 128 days to answer a question about how GP surgeries are funded – breaching government rules.

Norfolk County councillor for Costessey Tim East asked Norfolk and Waveney Primary Care Trust (PCT) at the start of August how different doctors’ surgeries were funded.

He was trying to find out how much money practices in Norfolk get, amid fears that families in Costessey are receiving far less money than other parts of the county.

The PCT was supposed to reply to Mr East’s Freedom of Information request within 20 working days.

But the trust has flown in the face of government rules and is yet to respond, more than three months later.

Mr East, right, said: “I’m very disappointed that the trust has not responded within the terms of the act. It is wholly unacceptable and highly embarrassing.”

His questions to the PCT were sparked after Roundwell Medical Centre in Costessey introduced telephone diagnosis to save money and cope with new patients from the area’s expanding housing estates.

Mr East wanted to find out how often funding was reviewed to see if money allocated for healthcare in Costessey had increased with its expanding population.

In an email dated October 11 the PCT apologised for the delay and said the request had been “escalated” to a “senior member of staff” as the trust was in breach of the Freedom of Information Act.

Russ Clarke, from the PCT said the response had not yet been sent because of the “significant changes” taking place within the PCT.

The trust is being scrapped next year and will be replaced by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG).

Mr Clarke said the changes had affected the departments from which the information was requested and the team dealing with the administration of the request.

He said they would respond to Mr East as soon as possible, and were reviewing how they dealt with Freedom of Information requests.

Do you have a story about Costessey for the Evening News? Contact reporter Tom Bristow on 01603772313 or email tom.bristow@archant.co.uk