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Impingement upon patient rights

Despite the NHS direction not to ban any medicine from being prescribed that can now be purchased without a prescription, the NHS Harrow Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has issued instructions to GPs not to prescribe these medicines which the GPs are
The list of medicines to which this guidance applies is here and includes vitamin D, skin creams, nasal sprays (like saline solution for babies and Beconase for adults), lubricant eye drops, haemorrhoid creams, constipation laxatives like Cosmocol, the commonly used painkillers, or dispersible aspirin to keep blood thin.
We have asked Harrow CCG to clarify their action that hits hard vulnerable, elderly, school age children or those on benefits, who are exempted from the prescription charges.
The NHS North West London made the following clear recommendations:
“Ask if they (patents) will buy it. If the patient’s answer is ‘no’ (i.e. the patient is unable or unwilling to purchase the product), or if you are not confident in their ‘yes’, the product should be prescribed.
“The CCGs are not asking any prescriber to have lengthy conversations with patients about this. If the patient says s/he is not willing to buy the medicine, or if the prescriber is not confident in the patient saying that s/he will buy it, the CCGs recommend simply prescribing it.
The NHS NWL letter was very specific, for example under “can the prescriber refer the complaint to his or her CCG?” it said:
If the recommendation above is followed, there should be little cause for a patient to complain. If he or she says that s/he is not willing to buy the medicine, or if the prescriber is not confident in the patient saying that s/he will buy it, the medicine should be prescribed. But yes, prescribers are encouraged to direct people who want to complain about the recommendation to the CCGs’ complaints team.
The Harrow CCG should fully follow NHS North West London recommendations to the prescribers and instruct GPs to do the same.
We have also asked the Harrow council leader Cllr Graham Henson to intervene as he chairs the Harrow Health and Wellbeing Board which is working in partnership with the Harrow CCG!



Harrow could lose a cinema and a church!

dsc_2324dAsprea 2 Ltd is preparing to submit a planning application for a residential led mixed-use development on the Safari cinema site, Station Road Harrow, that is partially occupied by much used V2V Community Church.
The cinema is used for Indian film showing and the church has become a hub for the community that hosts non paying breakfasts, lunches for the elderly and hundreds of children on an annual basis to help them become more confident individuals.
The Ilford based company (director Ghulam Alahi ) is proposing circa 80 residential units and around 1,500 sqm commercial and community floorspace.
Community Church is saddened that there is potential to destroy such a monumental site and  are determined to continue fighting on behalf of their congregation and the community of Harrow.
“We urge the community to protest and to petition the council to not allow this monument to be developed into yet another block of apartments” appeals the church spokesperson Danielle Goodman.
The planning application with some adjustments is most likely to be successful as it contributes to Harrow’s housing targets, though the Harrow opposition could come up with objections on the basis of material planning considerations like increased people, traffic movement and road capacity or they could use the Localism Act 2011 where the asset of community value, or ACV, regime allows a number of community rights, including provisions to help communities safeguard buildings serving a purpose to further the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community.
The pre planning application consultation, organised by planning consultants Maddox, includes public consultation event 11am to 8pm at Jasper Centre HA1 2SU on 29.01.2019.


Council to increase some fees and charges

Many council charges are set to increase by 5%, including the burial charges, informs a report to the forthcoming Harrow council cabinet meeting.
Also, a new charge is proposed to cover the cost of arrangement fees for customers in care home or own homes who pay for care costs. The charges could be about £100 for setting up a community care package and slightly less than £100 for annual maintenance of a community care package. The council can only arrange traditional services such as homecare support and day care at council run day centres.
Harrow currently charges people with savings over the national threshold of £23,250, on a full cost recovery basis for the services provided but not for the cost to the council of making these arrangements for them.
While there is no increase in many charges, including car parking at the civic centre, on street and off street and the garden waste collection, some charges to increase more than 5% like for the special waste service – between 7% and 17% for collecting particular items. Pest control service increase is 5-7%.
rat-imageCommercial Waste Services are introducing an additional pest control service. This will offer a rat prevention service including a CCTV inspection of drains and insertion of rat barriers in drains – rat flap £165 and CCTV inspection £131.00. This has been developed out of increased requests for a prevention service.
Fees and charges in Harrow generate in the region of £30m per annum and provide significant funding support to the provision of those services that are charged for.


Harrow is changing – a mixed picture!

Population: the population increase from under 250k in 2016 to 270k in 2026 and over 283k by 2036 – widespread but the most dramatic increases in Greenhill and Marlborough because of both the highest number of sites and the largest developments in these wards.
Building a Better Harrow strategy: the changes that will occur in Harrow over the next 10 years:


All this is before Brexit!!

NHS veiled cuts

Very quietly the NHS in North West London has asked GPs and other prescribers to reduce prescribing of medicines and products (under the pretext of promoting ‘self-care’) that can be purchased without a prescription. (List)
The medicines patients are now advised to obtain over the counter include: vitamin D, skin creams, nasal sprays (like Beconase and saline solution for babies), lubricant eye drops, haemorrhoid creams, constipation laxatives (like Cosmocol), the commonly used painkillers, or dispersible aspirin to keep blood thin. One GP tweeted:
GP tweet
Such a money saving move hits hard vulnerable, elderly, school age children* or those on benefits, who are exempted  from the prescription charges but now have to buy these medicines, some of which are quite expensive. In order to save money, people try online shopping with a risk of buying cheap quality medicines.
*(the school age children are exempted if the product needs to be given at school as many schools will not administer medicines that do not have a dispensing label bearing the child’s name and the dose)
They do so seemingly to avoid bad rating by the Care Quality Commission inspection that would monitor the prescribing of these medicines.
Those in Harrow who need medical care not only suffer because of the cuts in medicine  but also because of a clinician decision whether a patient meets the evidence-based thresholds for the hospital treatment as defined in the Planned Procedure with a limited Threshold (PPwT) policy and which requires funding approval from the authority running a deficit budget.
There are thirty three  procedures covered under PPwT policy, including cataract surgery, grommets in children, hip replacement, correcting a deformity of the nasal septum and open MRI, for which individual funding request has to be made to the NHS Harrow Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) where  the  treatment falls under the ‘not normally funded’ category.
We understand Harrow CCG has declined many such requests.



TV license scam!

Some in Harrow have received scam TV Licensing refund or payment issue emails in just a matter of days.
Somewhat convincing fake emails are being sent by scammers in a bid to steal bank account and personal details.
The emails claim that TV Licensing have been trying to get hold of the victim regarding a refund for an over-payment or that a refund is owed or that the TV License could not be automatically renewed.
The fraudsters include links to convincing-looking cloned TV Licensing websites designed to harvest bank account and credit card details.
Closer examination of the license information in the scam email shows that the TV license number or other details are incorrect – like the example below:


Labour likely to retain Harrow indefinitely

BCRecommendations for changes to Harrow’s ward boundaries have been published following consultation with the people who live and work here, though still chance to say what you think of them by 11 February 2019 before these become final on 26 March 2019 and implemented  in May 2022 if approved by the parliament.
The division lines tend to run alongside roads or railway tracks to increase or reduce the size of the wards – return of historic Centenary is interesting (last held by Labour).
The proposals  from the Boundary Commission include Harrow being represented by 55 councillors in the future, 8 fewer than now, and having an extra ward – 22 in total. Those councillors should represent 11 three-councillor wards and 11 two-councillor wards across the council area.
The dynamics of the 2 and 3 councillor wards and who holds these now projects increased number of Labour and lesser number of Tory councillors.
Harrow East and Hatch End would be more interesting battlefield for sitting Tory councillors as four Tory wards are recommended to be the 2-Cllr wards – wonder who would win in the ward selection in Belmont, Canons, Harrow Weald and Hatch End, given their controversial standing in their relevant Tory associations, past or present!