Saturday, 26 February 2011

GP Commissioning and Community Hospitals

On Friday, I met with Ken Brown (Chairman, League of Friends of Molesey Hospital) and Dr Steve Brant (local GP and pioneer of MEDICS Gateway) at the Glenlynn Practice in East Molesey (see photo below). In the context of the forthcoming abolition of Primary Care Trusts (PCT) and their replacement with local GP commissioning, I wanted to hear first hand about the prospects for Molesey hospital. I blogged on this issue in August last year, following a tour of the hospital.

The further feedback I received from Steve and Ken - not to mention other councillors - is that Molesey hospital is well placed to serve as a hub for the provision of local healthcare services, once we move to GP commissioning. There are potential advantages for GP consortia in having such a local hub, as well cost-efficiencies to be derived from delivering services closer to local people and reducing the rising number of visits and referrals to acute services at larger hospitals including Kingston (which are under increasing pressure).

However, the PCT has a large budget deficit due to past mismanagement. There are concerns that in order to balance its books, before GP commissioning arrives in 2012, the PCT may look to make short-sighted savings at the expense of Molesey and other community hospitals. I will be writing to the Chief Executive of the PCT to add my own concerns in this regard, seeking reassurances concerning plans for our community hospitals at Molesey and across Elmbridge, and asking what alternative cost-efficiency measures have been considered, including cutting administrative costs at the PCT itself.


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