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Does the Harlow Alliance Party have the answer to Osler House?

Politics / Sat 17th Mar 2018 at 04:51pm

Osler House …. The way forward?

By The Harlow Alliance Party

THE Harlow Alliance Party note that once again the two main political parties in Harlow continue to squabble about who is responsible for the closure of Osler House. Neither seem to have any practical idea of how patients in Potter Street can overcome the difficult situation they now find themselves in.

Doctors’ practices are basically funded using patient numbers as a base line which in effect puts surgeries in competition with each other. The considerable increase in the population of Harlow in recent years saw practices in the town competing for new patients and it seems not enough of these new residents, from Newhall for example signed up with the doctors at Osler House, which left the practice in an impossible situation.

All of Osler House patients will be signing on with other practices and in effect will take their government funding with them. These other practices already have all their costs (such as receptionists, heating bills, maintenance etc) covered by funding from their existing patients.

There is already a local system in place where patients from one practice can be seen at another practice on Saturday mornings for example. Medical records are available electronically so there is a seamless service, wherever you might see a doctor.

So a practical solution is for the surgeries taking on patients from Osler House to provide an ‘out reach’ service for patients living in Potter Street. They could be seen at Potter Street in the new surgery once it is built as part of the regeneration taking place there. These other practices would contribute a proportion of the total running costs based on the time they used the facility.

For example Lister House could see patients there on Mondays and Fridays, those at Bush Fair on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Appointments at Osler House would be made by a direct telephone line to the patients own surgery and a ‘touch screen’ service used as patients arrive at Osler House, both would keep administative costs to a minimum. The building itself could also be used by other services, indeed Harlow Council could itself set up an information point there, a mini area office, replicating some of the services it used to provide locally, such as holding councillors ‘surgeries’ before closing its area offices some 16 years ago.

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