How will com­plex get us more GPs?

Glamorgan Gazette - - Your Views - Avril Lake Porth­cawl

I UN­DER­STAND that the new multi-mil­lion-pound health com­plex, which the ad­vance pub­lic­ity has in­formed us is to cater for the needs of res­i­dents of Porth­cawl, plus res­i­dents of South Cor­nelly and own­ers of car­a­vans in the re­sort, some of whom are res­i­dent on Trecco Bay site for 10 months of the year, is due to open in Fe­bru­ary 2019.

How­ever, pa­tients seek­ing doc­tors’ ap­point­ments in Porth­cawl at present re­sults in 90-year-olds queu­ing out­side the surgery at 6.45am, in the rain, to be sure of get­ting an ap­point­ment when the surgery opens at 8am. On the morn­ing I ar­rived at 7.10am there were al­ready eight peo­ple in the queue.

One morn­ing last week I at­tempted to con­tact the surgery by phone from 8.10am. Even­tu­ally, when the phone was an­swered, I found all ap­point­ments were gone.

Ac­cord­ing to my con­ver­sa­tion with a very help­ful mem­ber of staff there were only two doc­tors avail­able but there would be more the next day – na­tional short­age of GPs. This, we hear daily in the press and on tele­vi­sion, ap­plies to all of W Wales.

As a res­i­dent of P Porth­cawl, how is a multi-mil­lion-pound, stylish, new build­ing with a view of the duck pond, rather than of the car park, g go­ing to im­prove the health fa­cil­i­ties I need to ac­cess in Porth­cawl?

Mov­ing a ser­vice which t the man­age­ment of our present fa­cil­i­ties is un­able to im­prove, due to cir­cum­stances out of their con­trol, to a posh new build­ing, with­out the abil­ity to in­crease the d doc­tors op­er­at­ing from the n new fa­cil­ity, is noth­ing m more than mov­ing the deckchairs on the Ti­tanic.

To date there has been no in­for­ma­tion, other than a pub­lic re­la­tions ex­er­cise dur­ing the plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion de­bate, as to what looks at this time lit­tle more than a white ele­phant. You can­not run a school with­out teach­ers nor a GP surgery with­out doc­tors.

The post-war Labour Govern­ment in­tro­duced the NHS in 1948 when farm­ers ploughed fields with horses, most houses in Wales had out­side toi­lets and no hot run­ning wa­ter, and the only houses in a vil­lage with tele­phones were the lo­cal doc­tor and po­lice of­fi­cer. Coal was ten shillings a sack and was ra­tioned to one sack per house­hold.

To­day, the med­i­cal pro­fes­sion can pro­duce ba­bies in test tubes, trans­plant hearts, lungs and kid­neys, and op­er­ate us­ing key­hole surgery – things that in 1948 politi­cians would think of as sci­ence fic­tion – but the sys­tem whereby pa­tients ac­cess the ba­sic health sys­tem has had no ma­jor up­date.

There are al­ready de­vel­op­ment plans which will in­crease the num­ber of res­i­dents in the town, with the present GP ser­vice al­ready un­able to cope.

It is now time for who­ever sanc­tioned the spend­ing of mil­lions of pounds of pub­lic money to as­sure those who will need to use the fa­cil­ity that our al­ready over­stretched GP ser­vices are able to be im­proved.

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