May 24 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Health bosses are being urged to reconsider their decision to shut a “successful” ear clinic in a rural Norfolk village and relocate it to one of the county’s main hospitals.
Patients who attend the clinic at Martham Medical Centre have been left angered by the move, which will see the service transferred to the James Paget University Hospital (JPH) in Gorleston.
Scores of patients have written to bosses at Health East - the clinical commissioning group (CCG) for Great Yarmouth and Waveney that has made the decision - opposing the move.
They say the transfer will put a burden on NHS transport schemes as patients will struggle with public transport to get to the JPH, and do not see why the service has to move from Martham’s large, modern surgery which has hosted the clinic for five years.
Barry Loades, from Ormesby, is a long standing patient at the clinic and said moving it would “pile more work on the JPH”, which was already “overloaded”.
The 64 year old added: “The time it takes me to come here and get back is probably a quarter of the time it would take to get to the JPH, especially in the summer time.
“It’s a terrible place to get to and when you do get there you’ve got a job to park anywhere.”
Pat Mitchell, 74, from Martham, whose husband Noel is also a patient, said: “It doesn’t make sense that a centre like this with a huge car park isn’t used. It seems silly.”
Patients’ concerns were met by Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis who agreed to take them to Health East and ask bosses to rethink the move.
Speaking at the surgery where he met concerned residents on Friday he said: “I have no power over the practise or CCG, what I can do is make the case to the CCG.
“From I’ve heard so far it certainly makes a case around transport issues, (and they) may want to have a rethink around that in terms of people’s access.
“Ultimately the whole point of having a CCG is that they’re local experts on decisions to what they think is right for the area.”
Dr John Stammers, chair of Health East, said the decision to transfer the service had been taken by “local GPs” and other health experts - including an ear, nose and throat specialist – following a review, which had “looked carefully at demand for the service balanced against where we can best direct our limited resources to have the greatest impact for our patients”.
He added: “Aural micro-suctioning has only been available at three GP practices across Great Yarmouth and Waveney during the past three years, which means patients across the area have not been given equal access to the treatment.
“By transferring it to the James Paget, we will not only provide better value for money but will also make sure all of our patients receive an equitable service, regardless of where they live.”
Dr Stammers said free transport to the JPH would be offered to eligible patients.
Terrorism returned to the streets of London today as two suspected Muslim fanatics butchered a man in broad daylight in the name of “Allah”.
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