This article appeared in the Evening Telegraph
Politician’s fears for Corby health services
NHS reorganisation costs are hitting Corby health services, a prospective MP has claimed.
Labour’s Andy Sawford made the statement as he called for action to improve access to GPs and stop the privatisation of local services.
Mr Sawford held a health day in the constituency today, visiting local services to highlight issues, including concerns about the privatisation of health services, prospects for a hospital in Corby and the need for improved access to GPs.
Mr Sawford met with GPs at the Lakeside Surgery, saw progress with the new Urgent Care Centre, and met with Corby Healthcare.
The visits follow major changes to health services being introduced by the government, including a reorganisation which will see the transfer of services from the Northamptonshire Primary Care trust to a range of new entities, and an increased role for the private sector.
Official figures reveal NHS Northamptonshire has already been forced to spend £870,000 laying off staff, and Mr Sawford says a leaked Government business case suggests more than £40m in Northamptonshire is being held back from NHS patient care to pay for the reorganisation.
Mr Sawford said: “Corby already has less funding per head of population than other areas in Northamptonshire and with these new costs of reorganisation it is really impacting, particularly on access to see family doctors.
“I met a lady in Kingswood recently who told me she had to call 999 because she couldn’t wait any longer to see the doctor, so the health service sent an ambulance and admitted her to hospital. This is very costly and could have been avoided.
“Corby Healthcare and local GPs are working hard to improve access, such as the new approach of doctors being available on the telephone, so some people don’t need to come into the surgery at all.
“The new Urgent Care Centre will also be a great addition and hopefully will be open by the autumn. I hope this will be a big step towards transferring more acute services to Corby so that people don’t have to travel and have much more convenient and effective health care on their doorstep.
“What is a real shame though is instead of rewarding local health providers for taking the initiative with the Urgent Care Centre by letting them run it, they have to now bid against lots of other providers, including the private sector.”