Agenda item

Future of Healthcare in Greater Thetford

Kay Boyden, STP Estates Project Manager (Norfolk Community Health Care Trust)

Phil Shreeve, Public Health (Norfolk County Council)

Cal Deane (NHS Primary Care)


The Chairman welcomed Kay Boyden, Sustainability and Transformation Partnership Estates (STP) Project Manager (Norfolk Community Health Care Trust); Phil Shreeve, Public Health (Norfolk County Council (NCC)) and Cal Dean North Norfolk and South Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) (NHS Primary Care Trust).


A presentation was given to Members on how the Sustainable Transformation Partnership was bringing together health partners across Norfolk and Waveney to investigate ways of working in partnership, to deliver better health outcomes for patients.


Members heard that the X-ray service at the Healthy Living Centre had resumed as well as minor surgery, midwifery services and diagnostics also available at the Centre.


Public Health was a Norfolk County Council function who were focussing on how the wider environmental issues (including housing, wage levels etc.) impacted on individuals health and how improvements could be made.  Specifically work was underway to move towards a single point of contact – just one number; more details would follow.


The Breckland Health Alliance consisted of integrated and multi-disciplinary teams who worked together to improve service delivery and the quality of care and experience of local health services across the District. 


Members raised concern there would not be the adequate access to health services due to the growth expected in Thetford.  Members were reassured there was a requirement to consider all establishments within the Thetford area to maximise the space and availability practices can offer.


Members heard how General Practices set their boundaries which included the new development areas.  There was a recognition there was a shortage of GPs however to deal with the population growth the CCG were working closely with the Breckland Alliance to look at how to manage the recruitment and retention of GPs.  There were no set statutory numbers of health practitioners by population in their practice area, however the Commissioners were doing their best to ensure current practices shared resources collaboratively to meet the future demand.  The CCG recognised the future challenges, but were working towards how they could utilise the community care teams and clinical pharmacists to support the service delivery.


Mr Whittaker asked if the GP Practices were under obligation to expand under the terms of their contract.  It was explained that whilst there may be a shortage of space, many GPs owned their own practices, and used their own finances for a new build or adding an extension to the existing estate.  Many practices were now asking the STP estates for capital support for redevelopment however the funding pot was limited.  As funding was limited, alternative solutions needed to be considered, such as looking at how maximise the use of the Thetford Healthy Living Centre.  Grove Surgery had submitted an application for an extension to their existing premises which was underway and had been future proofed.  School Lane had re-configured their premises at their own expense but had not submitted an application for an extension as yet.  Work was underway to look at the Healthy Living Centre to ensure it was being used to its maximum benefit.  The issue of parking at the centre had been highlighted.


The Chairman was aware of the challenges of integrating communities in and around Thetford and asked Public Health how they planned to integrate future growth.  Mr Shreeve said he wanted to be an advocate for physical access and reduce the potential barriers to enable people to make the right choices.  The Chairman asked if the Landowner had engaged with Public Health to consider how to overcome future health issues.  Whilst Norfolk County Council were a statutory consultee consideration was being given as to how to access and influence the planners to discuss the wider health issues.  Public Health were in the process of finalising the revision for Health and Planning Protocol which suggested early engagement of all facilities.


The Chairman asked what was NHS England or the CCG doing to educate the public about alternative options available, rather than the need to see a GP.  Members heard that Norfolk and Waveney were operating a sign-posting service which was led by the receptionist to decide which practitioner to see.  The CCG would like to work with County and District Councils on educating the residents.


The Chairman asked if the elected representatives at three-tiers could be communicated better to be aware of the challenges and programmes of delivery could be cascaded to the appropriate levels.  There were monthly newsletters that members could receive which would provide updates.


RW said he was a Breckland Council representative on the local group for the CCG and would think about how he could bring information from the group to elected Members.


The Chairman thanked the STP, Public Health and CCG for providing a comprehensive update at the meeting. 


Ms Boyden said she would send Members the appropriate link to receive future newsletters (this has been actioned).  RW added that the information would also be useful when the ward profiles were created in readiness for the next election.