Agenda and minutes

Venue: Anglia Room, The Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham

Contact: Committee Services  01362 656870

No. Item


Apologies and Substitutes (Agenda item 1)

To receive apologies for absence and to note substitute Members in attendance.


An apology for absence was received from Councillor T Jermy.


Urgent Business (Agenda item 2)

To note whether the Chairman proposes to accept any item as urgent business pursuant to Section 100(B)(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972.




Declaration of Interests (Agenda item 3)

Members are reminded that under the Code of Conduct they are not to participate and must leave the room, for the whole of an agenda item to which they have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest. 


In the interests of transparency, Members may also wish to declare any other interests they have in relation to an agenda item, that support the Nolan principles detailed within the Code of Conduct.


Councillor Gilbert declared an interest in agenda item 5 due to him being registered at the Medical Practice.


Councillor C Carter also declared an interest due to him knowing the Manager of the Medical Practice in a professional capacity.


Non-Members wishing to address the Meeting (Agenda item 4)

To note the names of any non-members or public speakers wishing to address the meeting.


Councillors M Chapman-Allen, L Turner and T Carter.


Watton Medical Practice Task and Finish Group (Agenda item 5) pdf icon PDF 193 KB

To consider the report from the Task & Finish Group meeting held on 15 July 2014.


On behalf of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission, the Chairman thanked Councillor Kybird for Chairing the Task & Finish Group and for all the hard work and effort that had been put into this matter by both the Group and the Committee Officer.


The Chairman of the Task & Finish Group provided Members with a detailed overview of the report which had been put together following two Task & Finish Group meetings.


On 5 June 2014 the Eastern Daily Press reported that Watton Medical Practice was de-registering 1,500 patients whose postcodes fell within the catchment area of neighbouring practices.  As this was not technically a closure of a service it did not fall within the protocol that required GP practices to consult with the Norfolk Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (NHOSC) in advance of considering branch or main practice closures.


The Watton practice had been attempting to recruit new staff since August 2013 but had been experiencing significant issues with capacity following the resignation or retirement of several members of staff which it had not been able to replace.  Further clinical staff were due to retire or leave in the next 12 months.  The ratio of patients to doctors at the Watton practice had increased above that which was seen as clinically safe within the NHS.  The practice was still trying to recruit and NHS England East Anglia Area Team (EAAT) were continuing to work with the practice on the recruitment process.


In addition to the de-registration of patients the Watton practice had also closed its list, which meant that it would not take on new patients other than the family members of existing patients.


The practice had also implemented a new appointment system in recent times to enable it to provide a greater number of appointments.  The process involved patients who wished to book an appointment being initially assessed by a doctor or nurse over the phone.  Those who did not need or wish to attend in person received advice over the phone, whilst other patients who needed to be seen were allocated an appointment of an appropriate length or urgency.  This system was very similar to that operated by a number of other local practices.  A valid criticism of the process could be a loss of privacy when a patient was in either a family or work environment and therefore sensitivity needed to be observed.


The decision to close the Watton Medical Practice patient list came into effect on 1 June 2014.  The NHS England EAAT consulted with the neighbouring practices immediately before the decision was taken and considered their concerns but, on balance, felt that the application to close the patient list should be agreed.  On the evidence provided to the Task and Finish Group by those consulted, Members considered the overall consultation left much to be desired.


Following the de-registration of the 1,500 patients from Watton, NHS England EAAT was very conscious of the effects on neighbouring practices and was providing additional resources to:-


·               Secure additional capacity to undertake home  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.


Next Meeting (Agenda item 6)

To note the arrangements for the next meeting to be held on 28 August 2014.


The arrangements for the next meeting on Thursday, 28 August 2014 were noted.