Two open meetings were held at a packed St James Church on 16th October to provide the Weybridge community with information on local health services following the destruction of the health centre by fire.
St James’ Parish Church, packed out.
A panel composed of representatives from the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), NHS Property Services, our two GP practices, and Central Surrey Health opened the meeting with a presentation on the status of temporary services locally. After this, the floor was opened to local residents to ask questions and make comments.
The NHS panel
The health centre site has now been cleared of debris and about 20 portakabins are being installed to accommodate Church Street and Rowan Tree practices, including Treatment Room services. These are likely to be open to patients by the end of November. There will also be a Lloyds Pharmacy on the site some time in December.
The number of temporary buildings is restricted to allow space for the rebuilding project. A Walk-In centre service will not be available on-site. The hospital based Walk-In centres at Woking, St Peter’s and Ashford are continuing to provide this service for the time being. Walk-in centre staff from Weybridge have been deployed to these centres.
Residents commented on the difficulty of accessing these sites for Walk-In services owing to heavy traffic and poor public transport links.
Despite assurances that there will be a permanent health centre with two GP practices on the site, the CCG Chairman also said the new provision would not necessarily offer the same scope of services as before the fire. The panel emphasised that public opinion and local needs would be taken into account in the design of the new health centre, but said no guarantees could be given that the Walk-In centre would be restored. Unsurprisingly, many members of the community present expressed their concern and consternation at this.
Local Councillor, Andrew Davis, is clear as to the Liberal Democrat standpoint: “We must ensure that the services we want in Weybridge are kept in Weybridge. Not only is it important to protect the services we had, we must also take this opportunity to secure better services for the future.”
In response to a question, the meetings were told that there would be about the same number of car parking spaces at the site as before.
Fit for the future
The CCG Chairman told the meeting that current government health policy is for primary and community care to be at the centre of local health services. He stressed that the North West Surrey Clinical Commissioning Group share the goal of the NHS National Strategy to provide a service which runs 7 days a week, from 8am – 8pm (reduced hours at weekends, depending on local needs). Reducing pressure on hospitals is a central part of the NHS National Strategy. To help achieve this locally, a fund will be made available from the NHS from mid-2018 to increase the number of GP appointments offered across NW Surrey from 1,500,000 to 2,500,000 a year.
The meeting was informed that the vision for Weybridge was to provide ‘a new service model, fit for the future’ in line with that provided by Woking Community Hospital. The model ‘hub’ service provision is up and running in Woking thanks to new technology, enhanced facilities and an online booking process.
“We can’t wait to get back to Weybridge”
The GPs representing the two practices at the meeting said, “We can’t wait to get back to Weybridge.” They reassured those present that despite a workforce crisis in general practice, new doctors were being recruited to fill gaps, a phone consultation service would be available and that a newly installed phone system will give better patient access to the GP practices.
If you would like to be kept informed about the future design of the new healthcare facility or be involved in a patient consultation group, contact:
NHS North West Surrey Clinical Commissioning Group Tel: 01372 232463,
Further information can be found on www.nwsurreyccg.nhs.uk