Councillors plead case for improved health services for Chafford

SOUTH CHAFFORD councillor Tunde Ojetola rose on the floor of the Thurrock Council chamber to propose a motion for improved health services in Chafford Hundred.

Cllr Ojetola said: “For too long residents of Chafford Hundred have had to manage with one GP [surgery]for the whole community even as more and more houses were built.

“In addition to the expectations Thurrock has already set regarding Primary Care needs, this Council now requests that NHS England and Thurrock CCG consider the introduction of a further GP surgery in Chafford, to meet increasing demand, as part of the Primary Care Strategy work already in progress.”

For those who are interested, the extract of my speech is below:

What is the problem?

Chafford Hundred was built in the early nineties and currently has a population of circa 14,000. The only GP Surgery on the development has 15,000 patients and is approaching capacity.

While I commend the work of the local surgery and its 6 GPs in keeping the list open the fact is that some residents travel outside of the area to visit a GP.

Comparatively, (according to the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC))
• the average patient per GP in England census is 1569 patients per GP;
• the national benchmark is 1758 patients per GP;
• Essex has an average of 1822 patients per GP;
• however Chafford has an average of 2,330 patients per GP (i.e. about 500 patients more than Essex average or almost 600 patients above the national benchmark!)

Why now?

NHS England is developing a national primary care strategy by the end of this year. Feeding into that is the development of the Essex Primary Care Strategy. This Primary Care Strategy is something I understand Thurrock Health and Well-Being Board have taken as a high priority.

In fact a recent report to the HWB board provided them with information and timetable in respect of primary medical services in Thurrock and an update on the production of an Essex wide Primary Care Strategy. So the timing is right.

I am pleased that the HWB have already raised some of the Thurrock residents face with NHS England. These include the lack of GPS in some areas; problems around access; quality of premises; the age profile of GPs and problems around succession planning etc. for example, although Thurrock has 87 GPs, in reality due to working patterns we an average of 42 WTE GPs, leaving a shortfall of 24 WTE. This is added to the fact that 30% of the GPs are over 60! or 53% over 50 years old.

Current plans?

Chafford Councillors have already secured a S106 commitment from the developer building behind Bannatynes to construct a new surgery to NHS specifications (and these plans now have planning permission). Therefore, there will be an adequate building in place for the proposed new GP surgery.

I have also had discussions with Roger Harris (in the Council) and with Chafford Hundred Medical Centre who are keen to get involved in the new practice. I have also written to the Secretary of State for Health and Jackie Doyle Price MP, Thurrock Member of Parliament to tackle this at a high level.

What do you want?

Implore the cross part support of full council for this motion as Thurrock is an important player – especially with the new Health and Well-Being Board – and this is a test of how much influence we can exert on health partners although at the end of the day it will be through NHS funding any developments take place.”

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