Chris and Ron had asked that someone from our local Primary Care Trust should come to the District Council. Tonight we were pleasantly surprised to see Malcom McCann, the Chief Executive of the Trust visit us. We had a very interesting evening.
The first part of his presentation was about medical provision in general. The impression was that although more needed to be improved, some progress was being made. He said there were 14 more GPs in the Rochford area than 3 years ago, and 5 Polish dentists had recently been recruited. Waiting times for hospital admissions and outpatient appintments had been reduced.
However Ron said that many of our residents had trouble making doctors appointments. Veteran Hullbridge councillor Rosemary Brown said that “Most elderly people I know are frightened of going into Southend Hospital. The quality of staff is appalling” McCanns’s response were was pretty honest – “We have a long way to go to improve the experience when you’re there”
There were mixed views about the new arrangements at Back Lane, Rochford – some speakers liked them, but one councillor said using the surgery in the past few months had been a complete and utter nightmare.
McCann then went to talk about improving heathcare facilities in Rayleigh. He admitted that there had been a good opportunity to do something at the Park School site, where Asda now want to build, but it had probably been lost. They had actually met with the developers of the Asda site on Monday (because he knew he was seeing us tonight) but what the developers could offer was really too small for what they wanted.
After this we talked about the reorganisation of the Primary Care Trusts. All councillors wanted to keep things as they are now, but the government thinks “bigger is better” and the best likely outcome is that we get lumped in with Southend.
All in all, an interesting evening – Mr McCann is a good speaker and genuinely seems to care. But we were left with the impression that the Trust and indeed the District Council could have done better over the last few years in planning new facilties , and reorganisation will only slow down and disrupt things over the next few months.