31/01/18 Tom Tugendhat to Woodlands Health Centre
Tom Tugendhat insists East Peckham 'is not dead' as patients told Woodlands Branch Surgery is to close
Tom Tugendhat insists the closure of a doctor's surgery in East Peckham "is not a sign that the village is dead".
Patients were told earlier this week that the Woodlands Branch Surgery, which has served residents for more than three decades, will finally shut for good in March despite intense campaigning from the Tonbridge and Malling MP and the parish council to keep it open.
Villagers were first warned the practice could close back in 2015 when health chiefs said the building on Old Road was not fit for purpose, but failure to find some £250,000 in funding means hundreds of patients will soon have to travel into Paddock Wood for appointments.
Conservative MP Mr Tugendhat said: "I'm obviously extremely disappointed because it's an important local asset used by a lot of people.
"I'm particularly concerned about the most vulnerable who can't get around by car so I'm now pushing the clinical commissioning group [which buys and plans local healthcare] to look at what they can do to help patients get to Paddock Wood.
"If they're going to remove the surgery, they've got to allow patients to get to the new one.
"The parish council have been absolutely outstanding and have done everything they can and more and we would not have got this far without them.
"But the reality is £250,000 is a lot of money and while we looked at a number of ideas, including using the village hall, sadly we haven't been able to make it work."
The MP has long warned of rural communities becoming dormitories but rejected the suggestion the closure could drive people away from choosing to live in East Peckham.
"It is still a fantastic village with a great community and plenty to offer," he said. "The surgery closing is very disappointing but it is not a sign that the village is dead."
More than 850 people signed a petition set up by the parish council - which offered to pledge £100,000 towards a surgery in the village - against the proposed closure.
Ian Ayres, accountable officer at the CCG, said: "We understand how valued this branch of the surgery is and have explored every option available to retain it, including considering potential funding from the parish council.
"The closure of the surgery was first proposed in 2015, when its premises were found not to comply with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) guidelines on a number of areas.
"The investment the practice requires is much higher than initially anticipated and it has been decided, in agreement with the practice and Parish Council, that the branch surgery of Woodlands Medical Practice in East Peckham will close from March 31, 2018.
"Patients will be notified of the changes and will continue to have access to a full range of primary medical services from the practice’s main site, the Woodlands Medical Centre in Paddock Wood.”
Future of Doctors Surgeries in West Malling and East Peckham
Monday, 15 January, 2018
We know the NHS is under great strain at the moment. While January always brings pressure on our health services, this year has seen the NHS have to cope with greater challenges than before. That has led to the cancellation of non-urgent operations, and longer waiting times in A+E, issues that affect all of us who rely on the health service.
I meet NHS bosses often to learn what can be done to help relieve pressures. One area that often comes up is primary care - ensuring people who need help get it early so conditions don’t escalate. That means maintaining the excellent GP network we have in West Kent.
That’s why I’ve been working to keep open the surgery in East Peckham. Sadly, after two years of struggle, and with the active support and determination of the Parish Council, we have not succeeded. The £250,000 we need to improve the existing surgery - or build a new one - is just too much. I’m disappointed that the Woodlands Health Centre in Paddock Wood hasn’t been willing to invest what is needed despite the Parish Council offering to pay nearly half. And I am now concerned for the patients who rely on it. I've enclosed the letter I have sent to the Clinical Commissioning Group last week and am hoping to speak with Ian Ayres this week.
For many it won’t have a great effect, the main surgery is just a few miles away, but for those with mobility difficulties and who don’t drive, the bus connections are poor. And though the pharmacy is excellent that’s no replacement. That’s why I’m calling for a dedicated link between East Peckham and the surgery. Without it the cost in taxis will be enormous or, worse, people will delay going to see their GP risking complications.
In West Malling there is a similar issue. By scaling back the services on the High Street more people will need to go to Kings Hill and Leybourne. Those surgeries are being improved, which is great, but those who find it harder to travel need the West Malling High Street as a hub for the whole area. I emphasised this point to the practice when I met then and encouraged them to keep the West Malling service viable. Again though, this is a topic of conversation for my call with the Clinical Commissioning Group because I'm concerned that while the NHS is undre great strain, we should not be reducing services in communities like West Malling unless there is an overriding reason that a better service can be provided elsewhere.
The achievements of our improved NHS mean people are living longer and healthier lives, that adds to pressures and demands more investment in areas like GP’s surgeries. I’m going to keep fighting to ensure everyone has easy access to their GP, no matter where they live.
EAST PECKHAM BRANCH SURGERY – STATEMENT FROM THE PARISH COUNCIL
For over two years, East Peckham Parish Council has been exploring options for retaining the surgery in East Peckham.
East Peckham Parish Council has pledged £100K towards a surgery in East Peckham but this is insufficient as the costs required are in excess of £250K and neither the CCG or Woodlands Health Centre are able to make a contribution towards those costs.
Regrettably therefore it is our understanding that the CCG and Woodlands Health Centre will be proceeding with the closure of the surgery and that registered patients will shortly receive a letter outlining details of their ongoing GP care with Woodlands Health Centre.
Any questions should be directed to Woodlands Health Centre.
In October, East Peckham Parish Council made a conditional offer to the CCG and Woodlands Health Centre of £100k towards the future retention of a surgery in East Peckham which has been costed at over £250K. Our budget for 2018/2019 recognises our continuing commitment to do all we can to secure the future of the surgery and it does include a provision towards this funding support package. Whilst no official announcement has yet been made regarding the surgery it is expected that one will be made during January 2018.
At a meeting of the full council held on 18 September 2017, the following new information was received by members
- Overwhelming response from completed consultation feedback form was for EPPC not to invest in the refurbishment of the existing premises.
- Mixed response regarding a new build, whilst some welcomed the idea others wanted the parish council to explore the portakabin option.
- Some respondents suggested EPPC did nothing.
Costing Information: Not yet received.
- Communication with CCG: The CCG has confirmed as follows:
- Provided WHC are committed to providing services in East Peckham for at least 10 years, they would commit to reimbursing WHC for premises costs.
- With regard to improving opening hours, they are of the opinion that this is a decision for WHC and will to some extent depend on the demand from local people and the degree to which extended hours are used. The CCG will support the practice.
- No comment on whether unused occupancy can or will be offered to other local GP Practices.
- When asked to comment on whether or not the surgery could be used in the package for providing primary community care in East Peckham, the CCG are in agreement and will work to see what additional services can be delivered
- Neither present premises or a portakabin are acceptable as a permanent solution
Members will now be considering all the information and will convene on 02 October 2017 when they will be expected to make a decision regarding EPPC’s future involvement
10/07/17 East Peckham Surgery – The Latest
Thanks are extended to everyone for attending the Consultation Event held on 10 July 2017. Throughout the day there was a steady stream of residents with 87 completed feedback forms received. Over the summer the Parish Council will be evaluating all responses before we convene on 18 September and deliberate the matter further. We thought it would be helpful to share some relevant key statistics and questions that we shall be considering in our deliberations.
Relevant key statistics include:
- East Peckham has a population of approx. 3,500 people
- There are 2,222 patients who live in East Peckham and are registered with Woodlands. Of these 1,576 are registered with a GP who holds a surgery in East Peckham.
- 646 EP residents registered with Woodlands are on a GP’s list who does not attend EP
- There are approx. 1,278 EP residents who attend surrounding surgeries (Yalding, Hadlow, Wateringbury).
- About 55% of the EP population who do not/will not use the branch surgery
- Between 1 Jan 2016 and 31 Dec 2016 19% of EP residents had an appointment at the branch surgery (19% of the 2222 = 422 patients). During the same period 45% of EP residents had an appointment in PW (approx. 1000 patients)
- East Peckham Surgery is only open limited hours, reflecting the limited number of registered patients using the surgery.
- Is the surgery only open limited hours because only a limited number of people use it? Or do only a limited number of people use it because it is only open a limited number of hours?
- For the 422 residents that used the surgery in 2016 a £100k investment would work out at £237 per head but if we look at it as a minimum of a 10 year investment (i.e. the surgery would stay open for at least 10 years) with the same rate of usage then that is £24 per head per year. This assumes that it is the same 422 residents who use the surgery every year, which is unlikely. A larger than £100K investment would alter the figures proportionately.
- £100k is £63 per head for the 1,576 residents who are eligible to use the branch surgery (over the course of 10 years could we assume that each of these residents would use the surgery at least once?)
Some Key Questions we need to ask
- How much should we spend on this project, remembering that only around 10% of residents are registered to attend the surgery in the village? 45% of residents are registered with a GP who offers appointments in EP and will potentially use the surgery (12% of EP population actually used the surgery in 2016)
- How should we raise further funding? Precept?
- We need to make a decision that benefits the whole of village, reflecting needs in both the short and long term.
- Will the Methodist Community Hall materialise? If so, when?
- What about the Portakabin suggestion? A basic unit would cost approximately £130,000 - £135,000 plus groundworks, planning fees etc.
09/05/17 On 09 May 2017 Cllrs. Mrs Graham and Miss Harratt met with the CCG and Woodlands Health Centre (WHC). The following key points arose from that meeting:
- The CCG and WHC are aware that on 10 July 2017; EPPC is holding a Consultation Day.
- The CCG and WHC are also aware that EPPC will be in recess during August and will not be able to make any decisions until after full Council had met on 18 September.
- The meeting concluded that moving forward there are 3 options:
o Refurbish and build extension on the existing site. However, there is general concern over the viability and shrewdness of spending so much money on the
existing site given its various limitations.
o Build new, by incorporating a new Surgery into the proposed new Methodist Church and Community Centre in the centre of the village.
o Do nothing
- The CGG have confirmed that they will carry on paying the rent of the EP Surgery, provided there is a long-term scenario being investigated or in place.
- The Working Group will meet again after 18th September.
21/03/17 - EPPC is receiving a steady stream of completed questionnaires for which we thank you. Please continue to let us have your views, it is important that as broad a cross section of the community responds and we are interested in your views whether you are a patient of Woodlands Health Centre or your GP is in another practice in a neighbouring village.
EPPC has confirmed a date for public consultation events. The date for your diary is 10 July in the Jubilee Hall (Sports Hall) between 10.00 a.m. - 3.00 p.m. and 7.00 p.m. - 10.00 p.m.
Over the summer months EPPC will be analysing all feedback and will be making a decision on the councils future role in September 2017
13/03/17 - We have run a very successful campaign of resistance which has kept the surgery open for almost a year since it was destined to close. We are pleased that whilst talks continue with all key parties which include us, the landlord, CCG, NHS and Woodlands Health Centre that it will not close; however this situation is not going to continue indefinitely and the issue is reaching its climax.
The NHS, CCG and Woodlands Health Centre have stated that they have no money to put towards any refurbishment works which in effect means that if we want the surgery to remain open we must fund all of the work ourselves. At the present time we believe that the costs involved are likely to be upwards of £150,000, given the considerable amount of money involved we need to be guided by what the community wants us to do. If the overwhelming view of the community is that the surgery should stay open and we assume that a third of the costs will be raised by crowdfunding, donations, legacies and sponsorship then that will mean £100,000 or more coming from public funds and loans.
Our view is that before committing public funds of £100,000 or more towards the project that we consult residents to ensure that we have a mandate of support for this level of public spending. We have therefore opened a consultation period with the aim of gathering some factual information about the use of the East Peckham branch surgery. We have compiled a questionnaire which we would be pleased if you would complete and return to us, we are happy to accept paper copies, online submissions via our website www.eastpeckham-pc.gov.uk or you can complete our survey monkey questionnaire. The aim of the questionnaire is to try to find out what the direct impact of the branch closure will be on patients, the impact closure might have on the wider village and whether you would support us spending upwards of £100,000 towards its refurbishment. We have tried to keep the survey reasonably short and it will hopefully produce some useful data which can be used to assist us in our decision making.
It is important to us that as broad a cross section of the population of the village responds to the consultation and your views really do matter.
24/11/16 - East Peckham Branch Surgery – The Latest Whilst Discussions Continue - No immediate threat of closure
A productive meeting was held on 17 November, in attendance were John Ditton (Landlord), Karen Bell (EPPC), Steph Watson (EPPC), Penny Graham (EPPC), Ian Ayres (CCG) and Sarah Baker (Woodlands Health Centre).
As Woodlands Health Centre require two consulting rooms, Ian Ayres agreed to meet again with Invicta Surveyors and a further meeting with the surveyors will be convened.
John Ditton the landlord is amenable to a small parcel of land at the rear of the surgery being bought into use and the premises extended if more land is required in order to accommodate a second consulting room.
21/10/16 - Key Parties to meet on 17 November - Here follows the latest news
A meeting has been arranged which will be taking place on 17 November. Those attending in addition to EPPC representatives will be the landlord, the CCG and Woodlands Health Centre.
The key to making any sort of progress is for the Health Centre to have considered in advance of the meeting the impact of reducing the surgery to one consultation room which is what has been suggested in the latest survey which was carried out by the CCG and whether they would still be committed to providing a service and what that service would look like.
The CCG can then consider whether that service would be in accordance with their vision/model for the delivery of primary care in the medium to long term.
Woodlands Health Centre has indicated that they require two consulting rooms so that ancillary services can be provided alongside GP services.
EPPC is delighted that the surgery remains open and is pleased that all parties remain committed to finding a long term solution which will benefit patients and the village of East Peckham
19/08/16 - Feedback received from the CCG - The CCG has today (19.08.16) apologised for the delay in responding.
They have stated as follows. "It has taken a while to source good quality advice about the rules and regulations about primary care premises. NHS England have not been able to help nor have Property Services. However, I have now identified a commercial surveyor who has the appropriate expertise and is able to assist. I met them this week and agreed for them to review the plans for improvements to the branch surgery and give a professional view of whether they meet CQC and other requirements".
10/08/16 - East Peckham Parish Council is still waiting for feedback from the CCG re the findings contained within the survey. As soon as we hear some news we will share it. The Parish Council would rather wait and achieve the right outcome for patients and the village rather than rush a decision which may not be the right outcome. We do however understand the need for some clarity asap
14/06/16 - CCG Apologise for Delay in Responding to the Survey to East Peckham Parish Council
8 Jun 2016 — The CCG has today apologised for the delay in responding to the findings of the survey commissioned by EPPC. In a statement received today the CCG have said that they are currently trying to track down the best person to give advice on the situation and will come back to EPPC as soon as possible
06/04/16 - EPPC Registers to be a beneficiary in TMBC’s online community lottery to raise funds for the refurbishment of the East Peckham Surgery
24/03/16 - The Parish Council has appointed Peter Clymer as our surveyor.
Site visit 07/04/16
Letter from Tom Tugendhat 09/03/16
Letter to the Woodland Health Centre 10/03/16
24/02/16 - The deadline for the submission by Woodlands Health Centre of an Action Plan passed on 15 February 2016, the Parish Council has today (23 February 2016) contacted the Health Centre and asked for a copy of the Action Plan which was submitted. It is hoped that it is the one drafted by the Parish Council. It is believed that a decision was due to have been made last week, that decision has not yet been communicated with the parish council, we have therefore requested an immediate update.
23/02/16 - Letter from David Selling (NHS ENGLAND)
14/02/16 - East Peckham Parish Council takes the lead in formulating the Action Plan. Click here to see the plan in detail
04/02/16 - Media Exposure
East Peckham Parish Council was delighted to learn yesterday that the surgery has been picked up by BBC SE Sunday Politics show which is being aired on 07 Feb 2016. Whilst we are being included as part of a wider programme, we are delighted to be involved and for the media exposure that our resistance to the closure of the surgery is attracting. The councils thanks go to the residents who have agreed to be interviewed, Tom Tugendhat MP for his input and to Steph Watson the Parish Councils Chairman who is also being interviewed.
Meeting with Woodlands Health Centre
This morning (02.02.16) Parish Council representatives met with GP partners and the landlords son. Firstly, the landlord is amenable to extending the lease on the surgery. He did mention that the landlord has received interest from two other commercial interests, a hairdressers being one and a private health operation the other. We then discussed the formulation of the Action Plan, in principal, it seems as if we will have a stronger case for retaining the surgery if we try and go for an adaptation of the existing premises but before we know what this entails it requires a survey. It goes without saying that we need to know what work is required and the associated costs. In principal therefore we are minded to suggest that within the Action Plan the Parish Council makes a conditional offer to fund the cost of the survey. When the survey report has been received at that stage we will consider whether modifying the building is possible either funding the work through an amalgamation of PC money, anonymous donations, crowdfunding, fundraising etc. or if the costs are too great to then look at alternatives such as the conversion of redundant changing rooms at the Jubilee Hall or use of PC land.
28/01/16 - Thanks to everyone who came out today to meet photographers from the Kent Messenger and the Courier. Let’s continue doing all we can to keep East Peckham surgery open.
26/01/16 - Do you think hyper-local services are sustainable when the NHS has to make massive cuts? Village Doctors' Surgery Grant Six Months
Letter from David Selling Senior Contracts Manager - Potential Closure of East Peckham branch surgery
26 Jan 2016 — East Peckham Parish Council welcomes the decision of NHS England who have suggested that the closure of the surgery be delayed whilst Woodlands Health Centre enters into discussions with the landlord on the extension of the lease and with the Parish Council on what help we are able to offer. The Parish Council is willing to consider funding, premises and land. We look forward to commencing discussions with Woodlands Health Centre ASAP. Thank you all for signing the petition, the support has been overwhelming. We will not close the petition yet so please urge others to continue signing whilst we work with Woodlands Health Centre to come up with a solution.
25/01/16 - Keep East Peckham Surgery Open - East Peckham Parish Council has started an online petition. We would like to urge you all to sign it.
David Cameron MP: Keep East Peckham Branch Surgery Open - Sign the Petition!
22/01/16 - Letter to David Selling
East Peckham Parish Council makes a further representation re proposed closure of EP branch surgery by writing to the Senior Contracts Manager at the Primary Care Commissioning at NHS England
Village Representations to proposed closure of EP surgery
Woodlands Health Centre has confirmed that they received a total of 170 representations from residents. All but two of which were from patients. These two were from the Parish Council and Tom Tugendhat MP. This was an unprecedented response to such an important issue facing the community of East Peckham.
A huge thank you to residents and patients for your letters and emails regarding the proposed closure of the East Peckham Branch Surgery, these have been hand delivered to Woodlands Health Centre who have been asked to read and respond to each one individually
The Parish Council is grateful to Baroness Emerton, a very well-known former resident of East Peckham who has agreed to discuss proposed closure of the surgery with her colleagues in the Houses of Lords & Commons
Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council - Friday, 22 January, 2016
Tom Tugendhat MBE MP, Member of Parliament for Tonbridge, Edenbridge and Malling has again written to NHS England regarding the future of East Peckham Branch Surgery.
Following a call with a Senior Contracts Manager for Primary Care Commissioning last week, Tom has received notice that a decision will be taken imminently. This has prompted his latest letter to NHS England to explain the strength of feeling in the village.
Commenting on the decision, Tom Tugendhat said “I am making a further representation to NHS England to highlight the impact on East Peckham that a decision to shut the surgery would create. Many local services rely on the Branch Surgery and it would make a big void in the village. I already met with many local people, businesses and investigated thoroughly the impact of any potential closure. That’s why I have taken the step of writing directly to NHS England again to highlight this.”
07/01/16 - The Parish Council is grateful to Baroness Emerton, a very well-known former resident of East Peckham who has agreed to discuss proposed closure of the surgery with her colleagues in the Houses of Lords & Commons
East Peckham Parish Council has submitted a Freedom of Information Request to the NHS requesting numbers and locations of surgery branch closures in rural communities.
East Peckham Parish Council will be asking for the consultation deadline to be extended and for a delay in the decision on the proposed closure of EP surgery.
East Peckham Parish Council will be asking Woodlands Health Centre to enter into discussions with us on what support we can offer such as funding, use of premises and the use of land. When finalized a copy of our letter to Woodlands Health Centre and NHS England will be uploaded onto our website.
Woodlands Health Centre have confirmed that they are committed towards the provision of GP services in the village and the Parish Council will do all we can to facilitate this outcome.
Woodlands Health Centre Response 02/01/16
East Peckham Branch Surgery: Important Notice for Patients
Friday, 18 December, 2015 Comments added 04/01/16
Tom Tugendhat MBE MP met with East Peckham Parish Council to discuss the future of the East Peckham Branch Surgery. Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council members Jill Anderson and Howard Rogers also attended the meeting discuss the action we must take in the initial phase to try and save this surgery from being closed.
As the only doctor’s surgery in East Peckham, with 1,500 residents being registered at the practice, its closure would mean residents having to travel miles to get to appointments. For many, this would mean high taxi prices or waiting for the one bus per hour that serves the village. Local businesses such as Field Pharmacy would be affected, as well as Village Butchers and Store and other stores which rely heavily on footfall for business.
Speaking after the meeting, Stephanie Watson, Chairman of East Peckham Parish Council, said, “The Parish council are committed to doing all they can to keep the Surgery open. We will be working together to ask questions and get the answers we need to ensure we are able to do all we can to save this local service.”
Tom Tugendhat said, "I will be meeting with the GPs, and ministers to find a solution. The surgery provides important healthcare to patients in the village without which they would have to travel far and at greater cost. The importance of local services on communities like East Peckham cannot be overestimated. Without them our villages become dormitories and lose their character. It would be sad to see this happen to East Peckham."
Your Parish Council has submitted a list of questions to Woodlands Health Centre - See below
Questions and answers
Q. Who has informed Woodlands health Centre that the Surgery does not comply with current regulatory standards?
A. NHS Property Services held a meeting on 5th May 2015. We were informed that a surgery visit confirmed that the premises failed to meet the minimum standards in a number of areas, for example Disability Access, Care and Quality Commission compliance, patient confidentiality and lack of a compliant WC. Due to the nature of the building we were informed there is limited scope for improvements.
Q Who would be responsible for the decision to close the surgery?
A NHS England
Q. Why has it been left to such a late date to advise residents of this situation?
A. On the 5th March we were served Notice 25 by the Landlord to end the tenancy agreement. The Landlord was not opposed to a new lease however requested a £1500 per annum increase in rent. We wrote to NHS Property Services on 20th march for advice and support. As above they met on the 5th May and on the 8th May advised us they have declined our application for a new lease on the grounds that the building is unfit for purpose. We then investigated alternative premises but to no avail. We held a meeting with NHS England on the 20th July to discuss our options. A 6 month holding over period was agreed with the landlord.
NHS England met with the premises committee on the 2nd November and on the 10th November we received a phone call from NHS England saying they are unable to support a new lease as a considerable amount of money will be required to bring the premises up to standard. A meeting was scheduled on the 24th November where it was confirmed NHS England would not fund the renovations needed.
Q. Why do Woodlands Health Centre find themselves in this “difficult situation” and could they have avoided it?
A. We find ourselves in this difficult situation because we have no desire to close our branch surgery, however if NHS England is not able to provide the funds are hands are tied. We have spent the last 9 months trying to avoid this situation.
Q. Who holds the Lease for the surgery? Who owns the property?
We held the lease with the support of NHS England. The property is owned by a private landlord.
Q. What are the costs of running the surgery?
A. The current rent is £10,000 per annum plus the usual running costs.
Q. What would be the costs of making the surgery fit for purpose?
A. A significant sum of money would be required to bring the building up to standard for which funding is not available.
Q. If the branch surgery is closed will any arrangements /help given to immobile residents unable to use public transport to get to Paddock Wood?
A. We are currently making enquires with Kent Karrier which is a membership based scheme that operates in the Tonbridge and Malling area. Patients do have to be eligible and there is an annual membership fee of £5 which contributes towards the administration. A fare is payable on the day.
Q. What would happen about getting prescription?
A. Field Pharmacy has agreed patients can leave repeat prescription requests with them (they can be posted through their letter box if closed). They will make two trips per day to Woodlands in Paddock Wood to drop these off and collect prescriptions to bring back. Alternatively patients can register to order their prescriptions online.
We hope we have answered all of your questions. Please be aware we have no desire to close our East Peckham branch surgery and have been working very hard to find a way to keep it open. However if we are unable to procure the funds from NHS England we have no option. All of your comments will be put to an NHS panel in the New Year who will then make the final decision.