Update 14 October 2014
The residents in Hatch End and Harrow are beginning to benefit from the improved services from the NHS. If you are over 75 you will have been notified by your practice the name of the doctor responsible for you. More surgeries are providing a seven-day service, open to all, near you and with the use of the improved 111 service and the 24/7 Urgent Care Centre (UCC) at Northwick Park there is little need to attend A&E except in the case of real emergency situations. There are now special carers’ services at your local surgery provided they know you are a carer. Please ensure you are registered as a carer at your practice to benefit from this service. The availability of your Summary Care Record is spreading as the practices prepare them. These records are enabling authorised clinicians to access them when you are away from your home practice. So with all these and more extra services coming on stream keep in touch through the CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) website (see below) which is about to be refreshed, making it more user friendly.
This autumn there are also improvements of facilities at our local major hospital, Northwick Park. The new additional operating theatres are open which will reduce the number of elective (planned not emergency) operations which have to be cancelled on the day. In addition, refurbishment of others is underway. The new A&E and UCC departments are opening at the back of the hospital near the operating theatres and specialty support wards which will prevent urgent cases having to be trolleyed from front to back of the hospital and we hope will reduce waiting times. Planning work is beginning for additional wards in a few years’ time. The merger with Ealing Hospital Trust, completed on 1 October, is initially more a change in administration than change in services. The Trust will be called London Northwest Healthcare NHS Trust (no doubt reduced to LNWHT) and will manage Northwick Park, Central Middlesex and Ealing Hospitals as well as providing community services.
Looking wider to Northwest London the CCGs (PCT replacements) and hospitals are working together to improve services on a regional basis. Preparation and pilot projects are in hand for providing treatment nearer home for patients, joint working between the NHS and local authorities on health and social care as well as improved emergency care and maternity services by 2017/18 with a start being made at Ealing in spring 2015. The first sign locally is the upgraded UCC replacing the 12/7 A&E at Central Middlesex Hospital.
Improving healthcare on tight finances is a mammoth task and will take years to achieve which means we will all need patience. I know that getting an appointment with your preferred GP can be difficult but be assured that the local NHS is working very hard to give you the best services, near your home and in good time.
Some contacts for more information:
NHS Harrow CCG www.harrowccg.nhs.uk
NHS England www.england.nhs.uk
HealthWatch Harrow www.healthwatchharrow.co.uk/
HealthWatch England www.healthwatch.co.uk/
London Borough of Harrow http://harrow.gov.uk/
Northwick Hospital www.nwlh.nhs.uk/
Elliot Hall Medical Centre www.ehmc.co.uk/
Hatch End Medical Centre www.hatchendmc.co.uk/