BSCF letter to NHS on Primary Health Care in Bishop's Stortford New!

The Chief Executive
East and North Herts CCG
Charter House
Parkway
Welwyn Garden City
Herts AL8 6JL

The Chief Executive
NHS Hertfordshire
10 Parkway
Welwyn Garden City
Herts AL8 6QA
7 October 2018

Dear Chief Executive

PRIMARY HEALTH CARE IN BISHOP'S STORTFORD

I am writing on behalf of the Bishop's Stortford Civic Federation about the provision of GP services in Bishop's Stortford. The Civic Federation is a partnership between the Civic Society and the active residents’ associations in the town which was formed to speak up on their behalf about the major developments affecting the town. New developments are now taking place in the town on a scale which we have not experienced for many years. When completed, they will lead to an increase in the town’s population of some 25%.

The new developments at Bishop's Stortford North and the station goods yard have been many years in gestation and were anticipated in the last East Herts Local Plan which was adopted in 2007. So the authorities responsible for the provision of health care have had plenty of time to anticipate and prepare for the consequences of this population growth. Our members have played an active role in the preparation of the two Neighbourhood Plans which cover Bishop's Stortford. One of the concerns which featured most strongly in their preparation was about the adequacy of facilities for General Practitioners.

Two of our busiest practices are based in the town centre in South Street and Church Street. It has long been recognised that those premises are not fit for purpose. Indeed, a few years ago the South Street practice attempted to move to a new purpose built facility but was refused planning permission mainly because the proposed location was so inaccessible. The need remains for suitable GP premises in or close to the town centre. Very often the people most in need of their services (such as the young, the old and the sick) will not have access to a car or will not feel fit enough to drive if they do. So a town centre surgery provides the best possible means of access by public transport.

While we would not feel qualified to promote a particular location we note that work is about to start on the development of the station goods yard while East Herts Council are developing plans for the site which they own in Old River Lane. It may also be the case that changes in shopping habits would make it possible to reconfigure surplus retail units to form a new surgery.

My reason for writing to you now is that the opportunities which currently exist may not remain available for very long, while the increasing demands placed on those services by population growth are already happening. We would therefore like to be assured that the responsible public bodies are actively discharging their responsibility to ensure that our growing population is provided with adequate health care.

I look forward to hearing from both of you.

I am copying this letter to Mark Prisk MP.

Yours sincerely

JOHN RHODES
PRESIDENT


Response to the BSCF letter above from the Chief Executive, East and North Herts CCG  Top 


Further comments from the BSCF letter on the response from East and North Herts CCG  Top 

The Chief Executive
East and North Herts CCG
Charter House
Parkway
Welwyn Garden City
Herts AL8 6JL
14 November 2018

Dear Ms Flowers

PRIMARY HEALTH CARE IN BISHOP'S STORTFORD

Thank you for your letter of 22 October about provision of GP services in Bishop's Stortford.

As you may be aware, the District Plan has now been adopted, and contemplates an increase in the town’s population to some 50,000 by 2033. We appreciate that the NHS will want to make efficient use of the Herts and Essex Hospital, but the growth in population is likely to place extra demands on the services currently provided there and perhaps reduce the amount of spare capacity available.

If one of the practices were also to relocate there from the town centre it would inevitably move their surgery further away from the main body of the existing population of the town who are registered with them, and also place it on the opposite side of town from the areas where new development is scheduled to take place – and in the case of Bishop's Stortford North, has already started.

The Herts and Essex Hospital site is not very accessible – it used to be a fever hospital for just that reason. And so I would ask you seriously to consider what options there are for a purpose built facility in or on the edge of the town centre during the limited period when such an option might be available. Such a facility would provide convenient access to the existing catchment population of either practice and would have the added benefit of allowing commuters to combine a visit to the surgery with their journey by train to or from their place of work.

I hope you can reassure me that such an option is being evaluated.

Yours sincerely

JOHN RHODES
PRESIDENT


Second response from the Chief Executive, East and North Herts CCG  Top