Robert Halfon issues update on Osler House

News / Thu 15th Mar 2018 at 04:25pm

HARLOW MP Robert Halfon has given an update on the work he has been doing on the Osler House closure.

Mr Halfon said:”I have been contacted by many concerned residents about the closure of Osler House. I’ve made it very clear that I believe the closure to be a wrong decision. Harlow is a rapidly expanding town and it makes no sense to close a surgery which has been serving Potter Street for over 60 years.

I am very concerned that I received no prior notice of this closure and that the decision appears to have been reached without any consultation with patients, user groups, and the wider community.

“The decision is particularly disappointing considering that the West Essex CCG received £371 million from the Government in 2016/17, a 6.32% funding increase from 2015/16; £382.6 million in 2017/18, a 2.96% funding increase from 2016/17; and will receive £393.89 million in their 2018/2019 budget, a further funding increase of 2.95%.

Communication with West Essex CCG

After I was informed of the closure of Osler House on 26 February, I immediately wrote to the Chief Officer and the Chair of the West Essex CCG to challenge their decision.

Following this letter, I held discussions with the Chief Officer and the Director of Primary Care to discuss my, and residents, concerns further.

In response, I received a letter from the CCG giving assurances for vulnerable patients and explaining their care strategy for Harlow. I am pleased with other investments that they are making, such as the extended weekend and evening GP service at Keats House.

“Although I will still continue to campaign to keep Osler House open, the immediate priority must be to ensure that residents have received advice on registering at new surgeries, especially the most vulnerable patients.

Important information for patients of Osler House –

Surgeries accepting Osler House patients:

Church Langley Medical Centre – Minton Way, Church Langley, CM17 9TG – 01279 638520
The Ross Practice – Keats House, The Fairway, Bush Fair, CM18 6LY – 01279 215354
Hamilton Practice – Keats House, The Fairway, Bush Fair, CM18 6LY – 01279 215415
Sydenham House – Monkswick Road, Mark Hall, CM20 3NT – 01279 422525
Lister Medical Centre – Lister House, Staple Tye, CM18 7LU – 01279 639791

Patients have until 28 March to re-register with another surgery – there is no first-come-first-served basis and all local surgeries will accept patients up to and past this date. If a patient does not register by this date, the CCG will allocate them to one of the local practices themselves by the 30 April.

Vulnerable patients, including those who do not speak English, will have additional contact to make sure they understand the change and the new practice they will be registered with.

Patients who are housebound will continue to receive home care by a health care team, including a GP.

Patients at Livingstone House will be taken on by Church Langley Medical Practice. Those in other sheltered accommodation can register with a local practice and will continue their entitlement to normal visits.

Three of the suggested surgeries are within 0.9 miles of Osler House, others may be closer to home for some patients.

Campaigning In Parliament

Back in Parliament, I asked the Leader of the House of Commons for a statement on the actions of the West Essex CCG and called on the Health Minister to write to the CCG and ask them to restore this vital service to residents.

In response, the Leader of the House explained that the Department of Health expect consultation and engagement to occur before any major decisions of this kind are made and that they will be writing to me with more information. She also explained that investment in Primary Care is a priority for the Government, who are funding an additional 5000 new GPs across England.

Following my question in Parliament and the letter I sent to the Department of Health, I had a meeting with NHS Minister Steve Brine MP. I raised residents’ concerns and received a written response from the Minister.

Communication with the Department of Health

In the Minister’s letter, it explained that Olser House had consistently been the most expensive practice to run per head in the country. This is largely because it serves very few patients compared to other Doctors’ Surgeries. Despite receiving a very high funding per head, Osler House consistently scored in the bottom 2-15% nationally in the GP patient survey. Some of the funding it received was recently reallocated to make distribution fairer for GP Surgeries, which are much busier and see more patients.

I believe that if the West Essex CCG has been more proactive in their communications and consultation, then it would have been possible solve this problem earlier.

If they had worked with me, the Council and the wider community, the CCG could have run an awareness campaign to encourage more residents to register as patients at Osler House. With fewer patients on their role than other surgeries, it would be significantly easier for residents to get convenient appointments and would have proved to be an attractive proposition to potential new patients. With the other Doctors’ Surgeries in Harlow at bursting point, strategically, it would have made far more sense for the CCG to try to help spread these more fairly across all the practices in the town, including Osler House.

The Minister’s letter also explained that the CCG had advised that Osler House’s current premises are not fit for purpose and need rebuilding. The regeneration of Olser House, as part of Prentice Place, is a project overseen by Harlow Council. I am very concerned by the length of time that it has taken to carry out this regeneration and the knock on effects this has had on local businesses and services. I understand, however, that part of the holdup has been the fault of the CCG who have delayed the plans by not agreeing to a new lease.

Going Forward

I will be keeping up the hard work and continuing my campaign against the closure of Osler House. I have already received many helpful communications from constituents which I have been able to discuss with the CCG and the Department of Health. If you have been affected by this closure, you can get in touch by emailing me at [email protected].

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7 Comments for Robert Halfon issues update on Osler House:

2018-03-15 18:44:22

Halfon shares much of the blame for this, for he voted into law a bill that enables the privatisation of NHS services. If a private company did not run the surgery, then it would not close.

2018-03-15 18:47:44

The Health and Social Care bill. Andrew Lansley. Billions spent on a pointless reorganisation. Ring any bells, Bob? Should do. You voted for it. Tories complaining at the state of the health service are like arsonists that light a fire then complain that it's hot.

2018-03-16 17:21:03

As usual keyboard warriors making ridiculous comments but offering nothing in the way of practical solutions. The situation is terrible for those affected and some blame must be taken by the CCG for not running a campaign to increase users, lets face it it's a 'if you don't use it you will lose it' situation so there are failures there. The most important thing is for the vulnerable and elderly to have continuing care at alternative surgeries and that they have the support they need during this change, something that Mr Halfon (Not Bob, have some respect please) is pushing for and ensuring is happening. A lot more than you keyboard warriors are doing ....apart from making pointless comments that is

2018-03-17 06:41:11

There are three types of lies. Lies, damned lies and Tory promises.

2018-03-17 06:48:11

I think any respect for government should go out of the window when people are waiting 18 hours for treatment in hospital corridors, mental health funding is catastrophically low and doctors and nurses have their pay cut. But that's just me. I'm a bit funny like that.

2018-03-17 17:59:07

Imagine if the NHS didn't have those massive PFI payments to meet that the previous Labour Govt left it with.

2018-03-20 07:07:05

As usual, more absolute twaddle from the trendy REDS. If it's anything to do with the truth, the more bluster and rubbish is spouted out, they don't understand the word. VOTE MOMENTUM / LABOUR, at your PERIL.

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