It was standing room only at Hebden Royd Town Council meeting last night, 25th September, as members of the public gathered to hear Hebden Bridge Group Practice GP Dr Nigel Taylor answer Councillors’ questions about patients’ problems with the Practice.
The Mayor and Chair of the meeting, Cllr Stowe, explained that the Town Council had received a lot of questions from members of the public about HB Group Practice, so had invited the Practice into the council meeting.
She pointed out the Council meeting is held in public but is not a public meeting. Members of public can observe but not speak. She asked us to listen to the speakers from the practice and said that the Cllrs could then ask questions.
At the end of the meeting, Cllr Stowe said Hebden Royd Town Council would send the Practice follow up questions. So if you have any, let your Councillor know.
A good start – but the meeting raised as many questions as it answered
The meeting was a good start to the public discussion of Hebden Bridge Group Practice’s problems and how to solve them, but it raised more questions than it answered.
Dr Nigel Taylor focussed on problems patients have with the Mytholmroyd walk in clinic and with getting booked appointments.
He acknowledged that the Practice hopes to work out something better than the walk in clinic. They want to increase staffing and provide a service that meets patients’ needs and is ok for staff.
The walk in is not the answer to that. They hope to provide different urgent care that meets patients’ needs, as they get more staff.
Given that he only had 15 minutes to speak, this narrow focus – and the vagueness of proposed improvements – is understandable. But the public also experiences other problems and in our opinion, these need public discussion, with the participation of the public.
What the meeting agreed
- In response to a question from Cllr Guilfoyle, Hebden Bridge Group Practice will reconsider the possibility of holding the walk in clinic in Hebden Bridge as well as Mytholmroyd, on alternate fixed days. (They had previously decided not to do this on the groups that it would confuse patients.)
- In response to a question from Cllr Patient, Hebden Bridge Group Practice will think about what to do about patients queuing outside the walk in clinic – but the problem with opening the building before 8am is that it would need staffing.
- In response to a question from Cllr Stevens, both Cllr Stowe and Dr Taylor referred to a communication link that Hebden Bridge Group Practice and Hebden Royd Town Council have set up. They will continue to use it, so that the Council can work with the Practice to “get tonight’s message out”. Cllr Stowe added that they will use this communication link to feed follow up questions to the GP Practice after the meeting. So if you have any, let your Councillor know. Dr Taylor welcomed “continued conversation between Hebden Royd Town Council, Todmorden Town Council and Upper Calder Valley Primary Care Network”.
The elephant in the room
In our view, the elephant in the room was what – if anything – Upper Calder Valley GPs and Hebden Royd Town Council are going to do to push back against the government’s underfunding of GP practices and government NHS policies that are putting increased demands on them.
These policies are being currently being translated into 5 year plans 2019-24 for NHS, social care and public health services in both Calderdale and West Yorkshire and Harrogate.
The deadline for submitting drafts to NHS England is 27th September and the final deadline is 15 November.
Here are details of questions that the meeting raised (but didn’t answer), and a report on Dr Nigel Taylor’s presentation and responses to Cllrs’ questions in the meeting.