For those of you not in the know, Lord Darzi's Report into the NHS recommended the introduction of Equitable Access Centres (know to us in the trade as "Darzi Centres")
To put this simply, Lord Darzi basically said that G.P.'s had had it their way for too long and as they don't seem to want to be more accessable than Monday to Friday, he's recommended that Access Treatment Centres be created. Now this is not a replacement for A & E departments at hospitals and it's not a replacement for the out of hours Doctors Service.
The idea is that one of these centres can be accessed by anyone, 7 days a week from 8am til 8pm. The centres will give you access to a G.P. Nurse or other health practitioner - depending on your query.
Now Thanet will get one of these - although the debate is on where it will go! You've got Margate councillors (sorry - "Residents") who insist that it should be in the Centre of Margate and you've got various others saying it should be around the Newington Area of Ramsgate - Although a couple of people did suggest Westwood Cross!
Regardless of where it will end up, there's been over the past few weeks, comments in the local press about this project. Mainly from Doctor Rob Sadler - a G.P. at the Eastcliff Medical Practice.
He's not happy about the idea of these centres and says it will degrade what he and his colleagues do as these centres will be accessible by everyone (even if you already have a G.P.!)
Now he can grumble all he likes about these centres but they are going to happen all over the country. If Doctor Sadler feels that strongly about it, why doesn't he open his surgery for longer for his patients? He wont because like all G.P.'s, they're on a nice little earner working Monday to Friday. Why would he want to work on a Saturday or Sunday?
So you can see where these centres would come in handy. Not only that, there are still a lot of people in Thanet who have no G.P. and this will give them the opportunity to recieve the correct level of medical care.
There's a long way to go before this project is completed. But I'm quite miffed that G.P.'s are moaning but don't want to actually make their own surgeries more accessable for their patients.
As it is, The Eastcliff Medical Practice is an amalgamation of the old Mildmay Surgery in Bellevue Road and The Addington Street Surgery on the Westcliff and are now housed up at dumpton. Not only that, underneath them is The Grange Practice (formerly known as The Grange Medical Centre). So all those people who live on the west side of Ramsgate that are patients of theirs now have to travel a fair distance to get there! The only one left in west Ramsgate is Dashwood House!
Wouldn't it be nice if your Surgery asked if you'd like them to be open on a Saturday? I think there would be an overwhelming respone of "Yes!" as the answer.
So come on Ramsgate's GP's! Don't moan about this idea unless you are going to open your surgery for longer!