Working party to look into ‘urgent’ demands following Healthcare Survey for Leighton/Linslade

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More GPs, GP surgeries and urgent treatment centre/minor injuries clinic called for

A working party is to be set up in response to calls for more GPs and GP surgeries following a survey demanding better health provision in Leighton Buzzard.

Residents also want to be able to access out-of-hours GP care or urgent treatment for minor injuries and illnesses with an urgent treatment centre/minor injuries clinic for Leighton-Linslade.

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The findings followed a Healthcare Survey conducted earlier this year and presented to Central Beds Council Leader Adam Zerny, members of Leighton-Linslade Town Council and Central Bedfordshire ward councillors.

The results of a Healthcare Survey has been submitted to councillorsThe results of a Healthcare Survey has been submitted to councillors
The results of a Healthcare Survey has been submitted to councillors

Councillors commended the exceptional effort taken to organise and analyse the survey and agreed to establish a working group of key parties to progress the survey findings with funding body, the Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board.

The survey was conducted by Leighton Linslade PPG’s Health Provision Group and featured several anecdotal experiences revealing the extreme difficulties residents experienced when accessing primary and secondary healthcare.

Edith Griffith, chair of the Health Provision Group and Network PPG explained the PPG had felt the need to step in and fight for better health provision in the town following complaints and dissatisfaction with the service.

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She stressed the need for significantly improved primary and secondary health provision for Leighton-Linslade and surrounding villages with the need for services to be localised, sufficient, permanent, and future-proofed to accommodate an ever-expanding population telling councillors: “We need your help and support to achieve this.”

The survey revealed the most important healthcare services residents want provided in the town, in order of priority:

> more GPs and GP surgeries;

> an urgent treatment centre/minor injuries clinic with out-of-hours GP care;

> walk-in blood tests,

> X-rays

> ultrasound,

> muscular-skeletal/physiotherapy treatment,

> eye clinic,

> mental health care,

> ear suction,

> a community facility for healthcare prevention activities,

> pre-op assessments,

> tissue viability care,

> sexual healthcare. and

> toenail trimming.

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Councillors were told a total of 5,393 patients had completed the survey with 600 pages of information, including over 8,300 comments.

The findings revealed an ’alarming account of the difficulties encountered by residents when needing healthcare, much of which was upsetting to read’. They were also told the picture could have been far worse had COVID not reduced patient demand for GP and hospital care in the three years covered by the survey.

Councillors acknowledged feedback from residents was overwhelming, noting:

> 96.4% of respondents to the survey indicated they were concerned about the current and future health provision in Leighton-Linslade,

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> 98.6% agreed that Leighton-Linslade needed its own urgent treatment centre/minor injuries clinic, and that

> 94% said that the town has insufficient GP surgeries for its current and future needs.

The survey asked where any new medical facility might best be sited with the town centre cited as the preferred location for an urgent treatment centre, or similar, where it would be easily accessible by bus.

One or more new GP surgeries were also called for, particularly to accommodate the thousands of residents of the new housing estates, with parking key.

Central Beds Council and leader Cllr Adam Zerny have been approached for a comment.