Hebden Royd Group Practice patients can call direct for urgent appointments


Thank you to the Practice Manager, who has written to say that Hebden Royd Group Practice have reviewed their urgent appointment process and that patients no longer have to call NHS 111 in order to make an urgent appointment.

In April, many people signed a letter telling the GPs what a pain and nonsense it was having to call NHS 111 in order to make an urgent appointment. The Practice Manager wrote back saying they were reviewing this, so the other day I asked what they had decided.

The Practice Manager says removing the need to call NHS 111 is:

“in part a consequence of the concerns raised.”

They are reviewing all their access arrangements on an almost weekly basis, so if something isn’t working, let them know – it seems that they will try and sort it out.

Thanks to everyone who signed the letter and helped make things better.

A patient has commented:

“The urgent appointment policy is excellent. I got one yesterday. Just have to phone between 8am and 10am or 2pm – 5pm and get same day appt. I phoned at 2pm, was seen at 5pm. Second time I’ve had one in last two weeks, first time hospital admission as a result.”

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Hebden Bridge GPs are reviewing urgent appointments process

The Hebden Bridge Group Practice manager has replied to patients who recently wrote to the practice manager and GPs with a complaint  that the only way to get an urgent GP appointment is to call 111.  After asking the 20 or so questions on their script, NHS 111 then sends a report to the GP surgery, which then decides if a doctor will call the patient or see them. Continue reading

Posted from Hebden Bridge, England, United Kingdom.

NHS privatisation in Calderdale is almost twice the national average

Four years ago, Craig Whittaker assured me there would be no privatisation of the NHS.

In 2015-16 Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group spent 13% of its £267,919,000 budget on non-NHS (ie private sector) providers.

This is not counting what it spends on social care, which is mostly privatised, and on voluntary sector organisations, which is “soft” privatisation.

When you count those in, 21% (£56,510,000) of the Clinical Commissioning Group’s budget goes on non-NHS providers. Continue reading

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Please sign open letter to Valley Road GP surgery if you’re fed up with being fobbed off to 111


If you are registered with Hebden Bridge Group Practice and agree with this letter, please sign your name in the comments box – or email it if you don’t want to be publicly identified. I will add your names to the letter and deliver it to the GP surgery in a few days.

Open Letter

Dear Practice Manager and GPs

A number of patients at the Valley Road GP surgery have found that when they phone the practice for an urgent appointment they are told to call 111, who, after asking the 20 or so questions on their script, will then send a report to the GP surgery, which will then decide if a doctor will call them or see them.

This is making people very cross and anxious as often they are people with ongoing health problems who know that they need to be seen at the GP surgery.

For example, a patient susceptible to sepsis with a suspected UTI needed to see a doctor and get a urine sample checked., but was fobbed off to 111.  This is unacceptable. It is not a good thing for chronically ill and vulnerable patients.

Parents with poorly children who need to be seen urgently have found dealing with 111 to be a nightmare.

We are under the impression that GP surgeries are required to give same day appointments to patients with urgent health problems, so why are you directing them to 111? Particularly children?

People have been to the pharmacist – as we are now advised to for minor conditions – only to be told they need antibiotics which pharmacists can’t prescribe.  So then they have to phone the GP surgery where it seems the policy now is to tell them to phone 111.

This is just giving patients the runaround. And it has to be less efficient and more wasteful for the NHS than if you just told people to come into the GP surgery for an appointment.

It ends up with people going to A&E because they know at least there they will be treated. But your Clinical Commissioning Group wants to reduce the number of people going to A&E.

We urge you to abandon this daft and unhelpful policy of fobbing off your patients – who really do appreciate the good care we get when we manage to see a GP or other clinician at the GP surgery.


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Hebden Bridge and other Calderdale GP practices’ patient data systems are unlawful

Hebden Bridge Group Practice and other GP practices in Calderdale use an electronic patient data system called TPP SystmOne that has an “enhanced data sharing” system that shares confidential patient data outside the GP practice eg with hospitals, care homes and community services.

Flaws in the system mean data protection is being breached as the sharing system gives access to our shared data to thousands of “authorised users” within the NHS, which is not what is supposed to happen. It should just go to whatever other NHS departments are treating you, in addition to your GP.
Continue reading

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So many revolving doors – was Bootham Park Hospital closed in the interests of patients or profits?

Bootham Park Hospital was closed at the end of September 2015 on the sudden instruction of the Care Quality Commission, following their unannounced inspection five days before the contract for running the hospital was due to be taken up by Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys mental health trust.

The inspection was apparently triggered by whistle-blowing from a ward manager who used to work for the Care Quality Commission.

Despite massive public opposition to the hurried closure – and an assurance to the Care Quality Commission from the head of Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys mental health trust that they had £2m earmarked for fixing the maintenance problems that were the reason for closing Bootham Park Hospital – the Care Quality Commission refused to budge.

None of this story makes any obvious sense. So what’s been going on?

Do fast-revolving doors between key public organisations and private health sector companies create a shadow NHS, where decisions are made in the interests of profit not patients? Continue reading

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New-build mental hospital for York – the murky workings of a post-democratic, privatising NHS

The sudden closure of Bootham Park Hospital in York at the end of September 2015 with just five days warning –  followed sixteen months later by the proposal for a replacement new build mental health hospital in York, provides a case study in the murky workings of a fast-privatising NHS that lacks democratic accountability

Revolving doors between the NHS and private companies mean that conflicts of interest are rife – but barely examined.

Bootham Park’s closure, on the order of the Care Quality Commission following an unannounced inspection, forced the immediate discharge or relocation of 30 inpatients  and affected 400 outpatients.

It was met by public outrage and opposition as the mental health hospital – the only one in York and the surrounding area – had been vital to the wellbeing and survival of many patients. Continue reading

Posted from Hebden Bridge, England, United Kingdom.

Secretive Sustainability and Transformation Plans are likely to have cost NHS over £16 million in management consultancy fees

Underfunded NHS clinical commissioning groups could be spending over £16 million between them, for advice from management consultants on the secretive shake-up of health and social care in England.

Unite, with 100,000 members in the NHS, said that health secretary Jeremy Hunt needs to come clean on the spending on management consultants in relation to the 44 Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) for England.

Unite calculated that £15 million is the likely cost, after the media revealed that NHS chiefs in Coventry and Warwickshire had forked out £343,000 to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for advice on saving money in their local STP plan.

However this may well be a significant underestimate. The British Medical Association has just reported that health leaders drawing up the North Central London STP have paid £2.3m to eight different companies – including accountants Deloitte and management consultants McKinsey – for services stretching from ‘administrative support’ and ‘financial modelling’ to ‘communications support’.

Upper Calder Valley Plain Speaker reported in October last year that the 11 West Yorkshire and Harrogate Clinical Commissioning Groups had between them paid £378K to management consultancy company Attain  to set up and run the West Yorkshire Sustainability and Transformation Plan Programme Management Office. Continue reading

We want an NHS which is comprehensive. That means it doesn’t target people’s lifestyles and blame them for their illnesses.

This is Deborah Harrington’s speech to the Fighting for Hartlepool Hospital rally on Saturday 15th October, as read by Steven Carne from 999 Call for the NHS

First of all I would like to say how sorry I am not to be here today.

I wanted to start by telling you about something I witnessed at a major London hospital recently after a physiotherapy appointment. I was at the bus stop, waiting for my bus home, when two security guards came out of A&E pushing a wheelchair. In it was a man who looked semi-comatose. At the bus stop one security guard tipped the wheelchair, while the other helped the man out. He couldn’t stand. They laid him down on the ground and left him there. It was a cold, wet day. His shirt and jacket were twisted up and I could see his back. It was covered in what looked like fresh burns. I called out to the security guards. They replied that he didn’t need emergency treatment so had no business being there. He was ‘just a drunk’. Continue reading

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Does Calderdale Health & Wellbeing Board know what it’s doing with NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plans?

On 25 August, Calderdale Health and Wellbeing Board meeting discussed 3 documents about Sustainability and Transformation Plans, in order to decide whether to accept the following recommendations that the Health and Wellbeing Board had previously made at a private, un-minuted meeting with Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group on 11th August – that the Health and Wellbeing should:

  • “own” Calderdale’s contribution to the West Yorkshire Sustainability and Transformation Plan
  • agree a Calderdale Plan at a future meeting
  • establish a Calderdale Transformation Board to oversee the work on the development of a Calderdale Plan and report to the Health and Wellbeing Board.

Six weeks after the Health and Wellbeing Board meeting – and only two weeks before the 21st October deadline for submitting the final version of the Sustainability and Transformation Plan to NHS England – Cllr Tim Swift sent answers to 15 of the 38 questions about these three documents, that I had emailed to the Health and Wellbeing Board just before its meeting. Continue reading