Leighton shows a healthy interest in better services

John Rooke and Dr Chris Marshall
John Rooke and Dr Chris Marshall

Leighton residents expressed satisfaction with GP services but gave a wishlist for healthcare improvements at a meeting last week.

The public came along to the Grovebury Road Scout Hutin Leighton Buzzard to hear about the review of NHS-funded health services being carried out across the county by Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG).

Local GP and BCCG locality chair Dr Chris Marshall, and BCCG’s chief operating officer John Rooke, gave residents an overview of the Health Review before inviting them to take part in a Q&A session, and workshops to identify what they would like to see from local health services in the future.

While satisfied with GP services, those present saw a need to respond to the increasing pressure surgeries are under. The public felt that other areas of local healthcare were not so robust, especially services for elderly patients and those with mental illnesses. Some of the other key things people wanted to see were:

> Better communication and integration between different parts of the NHS, social services and other community and voluntary groups.

> Improved use of technology for communicating with patients.

> Better information and education, so patients can take more responsibility for their own health, know where to go to access services they need and don’t use emergency services and A&E unnecessarily.

> GPs working together to provide more services locally, for instance an X-ray machine, a diabetic service and a Warfarin clinic, as well as routine tests.

> More ‘community beds’, offering a halfway house for people needing support when they come out of hospital.

> A 24/7 out-of-hours GP service to reduce the pressure on A&E.

BCCG chief operating officer John Rooke said: “I’d like to thank all the Leighton Buzzard residents who came along to this, our first public meeting to discuss the Health Review. We had a very interesting discussion and they raised some really valuable points, all of which will be fed into the review to guide our thinking when we start to produce options for future healthcare in our area.

“There will be plenty more To keep up to date on the Health Review, visit www.yourhealthinbedfordshire.co.uk , where you can also sign to up for BCCG’s regular Health Review e-newsletter.

> BCCG’s Chief Operating Officer John Rooke is pictured (left) and local GP and BCCG locality chair Dr Chris Marshall