The involvement of the Association
The Association monitors health and social care matters in harrow and keeps members informed with executive meeting updates and articles in the Bulletin and now will be posting matter of interest on the website. The HEA is a member of Community Voice, a grouping of local people and organisations from Hillingdon, Northwood and Harrow, which monitors and lobbies for health matters in Northwest London and, in particular, Mount Vernon Cancer services.
Health Changes in Harrow – update August 2015
The state of the NHS and GPs is in the national media a great deal these days and many promises were made during May’s General Election. A great deal of this talk is about the future and won’t affect local patients for some time. The political priorities for changes to the NHS and Council Social Care services don’t belong in this Bulletin so we’ll stick to the present and the impending changes in Harrow.
The first contact we have in health is with our GP surgery and this year we will all be able to book appointments on via their website as well as order repeat prescriptions and read our abbreviated medical records. Repeat prescriptions are now sent to the pharmacy of your choice for collection in two to three working days. I am aware, however, that not everyone uses computers, tablets, smartphones or other clever devices but it is the way the world is spinning and more and more of us use one or other of these. This service does enable you to do things at a time convenient to you without having to wait for a phone to be answered or visit a congested surgery.
The Council’s financial cuts have made social care provision difficult but in Harrow we have pilot schemes in place for integrated care services by the Council and NHS for people with several long-term conditions. You may read about this under the title of Whole Systems Integrated Care, which is the start of joining up health and social care provision.
Now, what about changes at Northwick Park hospital? The additional and refurbished operating theatres were completed a couple of years ago and last December the new emergency department A&E unit took over from the existing facilities. It’s a pleasant light and airy building with a tranquil atmosphere despite treating some 600 people a day. It’s not meeting the national performance target of treating 95% of patients within four hours but this is mainly due to the lack of available beds for patients needing hospitalisation, causing them to remain in A&E while this is sorted out. A new ward block of 106 additional beds is under construction and planned to be available in December 2015, which will enable improvement of A&E’s performance.
The Change in the NHS Trust responsible for running Northwick Park was completed in October 2014 with the merger of North West London Hospitals Trust and Ealing Hospitals Trust into the new organisation known as North West Healthcare Trust [LNWHT] which is the name you’ll find on all signage now. This merger will enable better clinical services for patients even if, in a few cases, it involves travelling a little further for treatment. The closure of the maternity unit at Ealing Hospital on 1July 2015 was successful without overloading any of the alternative units in North West London including Northwick Park.
There is a great deal of work going on to improve healthcare for all in Harrow and the surrounding North West London area. You’ll find that your local surgery will be taking advantage of support from the central NHS to extend it where possible to provide more services. This is part of the redesign of community care to enable new ways of delivering care to make it possible for extended group practices to form – either as federations, networks or single organisations – Multispecialty Community Providers (MCPs) to become the focal point for a far wider range of care needed by their registered patients.
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: www.harrow.gov.uk
Northwick Park Hospital: www.lnwh.nhs.uk
Elliot Hall Medical Centre: www.ehmc.co.uk
Hatch End Medical Centre: www.hatchendmc.co.uk