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Huge GP shortage in Chelmsford + mid Essex

June 12, 2018 8:14 AM
Originally published by Chelmsford Liberal Democrats
NHS DoctorMore details have emerged of the crisis in local GP numbers. Essex Lib Dem Health spokesperson Cllr Stephen Robinson questioned NHS managers at a recent meeting of the Essex Health Scrutiny Committee, and they revealed that up to half of all GPs and a quarter of all nurses could retire over the next two years.
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In mid and south Essex alone, this amounts to 200 GPs that could go. Adding in west and north Essex could mean nearer 400. However, there are just 100 places to train new doctors at the new Anglia Ruskin Medical School - and they won't qualify for many years in the future.
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Commented Stephen Robinson: "This is yet more evidence of the crisis facing our NHS, caused by years of underinvestment in training by the Government. The Lib Dems say that the NHS and care system needs an urgent £6.5billion, paid for by 1p on income tax."
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For details see p.7 of this report: http://bit.ly/EssexGPshortage The full meeting Agenda is here.
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Essex Health Scrutiny Committee considered a number of other items at its meeting.
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North Essex and Suffolk NHS review

The Chief Executive of Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, Nick Hulme, gave an update on their review and merger plans. In his presentation and in response to questions he said that he had had to move from thinking about organisations to looking after all the residents of the area. He agreed that the three NHS review groups in Essex ("Sustainability +Transformation Partnerships") do need to work more together and learn from each other.
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The NHS will need to do more to support people in their own homes and community. Plans more advanced in Suffolk than north Essex. Ipswich overseeing community services has reduced hospital admissions. Something simple like homes insulation could reduce hospital admissions.
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Councillors raised concerns about patients possibly not being able to attend their nearest hospital in future. Mr Hulme said that the days of every hospital being able to do everything are long gone and that they need to provide evidence that centralisation is clinically best. For example, if they didn't merge radiotherapy from two into one they couldn't keep it at either.
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Stephen Robinson asked whether hospitals and community teams would be able to share their data with the council's social workers. Mr Hulme said that they were unsuccessful in a bid for money to help make this happen but the NHS and County Council Social Care teams will be working together closely. They will come together across three areas in Integrated Care Systems for each of West Suffolk, East Suffolk and North Essex.
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Mr Hulme was asked whether his huge ambition for change could be delivered with very limited new cash. He said that it's not just about cash but about doing differently. For example, £472,000 was spent on postage last year at Ipswich which could be reduced via electronic communications.
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West Essex said similar - that there must be savings to be made from the £470 million a year a on pharmacy. Too many patients are over-medicated.
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For North Essex and Suffolk there is a combined budget of £700m and they felt they must be able to do better with that. For example, there are 120 people in the two hospitals who don't need to be there, costing £320 per night.
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Mr Hulme said that putting in money into the NHS without expectation of change was a big mistake in 1990s. Change is necessary. He gave a few examples:
  • £1 investment in child wellbeing delivers £40 benefit later in life but politicians won't do that because it is outside their time.
  • Earlier diagnosis could save lives and money: 40% of cancer diagnoses are done in A&E when admitted for something else.
  • Better "end of life" care could improve quality of life for patients and save the NHS money for investment elsewhere.
  • Need to address health inequalities. This may mean spending less in some neighbourhoods and more in others. For example, women in the Clacton area will die 11 years earlier than women in the west of Essex, and much of that is caused by late diagnosis of cancer. Need to find ways of diagnosing earlier.

West Essex & Hertfordshire

The Programme Director for this area made similar comments about his area. On staffing he commented that more cash for them will not solve all their problems as there just are not the staff available to be recruited.
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He commented that, of all the influences on health outcomes, only 15% are down to direct support from the NHS and care. The rest is down to social/environmental factors and healthier living.

Mid and South Essex

Similar comments to West and North Essex. They said that the vast majority of NHS contact for patients is outside of hospital and that is where services need to improve the most.
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