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Harrow CCG hiding behind NHS cuts and chopping health care provisions!

thumbDespite public outcry, Harrow Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has announced to end walk-in services in Harrow as Javina Seghal, chief executive of Harrow CCG, declares Pinn Medical Centre will also become appointment-only.
This follows similar change to the Alexandra Avenue Health Centre last year and Belmont Health Centre will be facing it in November.
Widely used walk-in centres allowed treatment of illnesses and injuries, without an appointment, where patients can’t get GP appointment promptly.
Harrow CCG tries to defend its decisions which adversely impact on public health care saying it is in red and that decisions have been made after ‘consultation’ (with who?) – but many question the quality of its management and the thriving governing body.
The Health and Wellbeing Board, chaired by the leader of the Harrow council and well represented by the Harrow CCG, is supposed to hold the CCG to account but is ineffective in doing so, resulting in heavy-handed cuts in many aspects of the health care services and provisions.
GPs, including in Harrow,  are urged against referring patients to hospital specialists and consultants, and some outpatient appointments will be axed, as part of a controversial programme of NHS to be introduced in London, resulting in rationing knee replacement, knee arthroscopy (keyhole surgery), interventional treatments for back pain, varicose vein procedures, shoulder decompression and cataract surgery.
Thirty three  procedures covered under PPwT policy for which hospitals have to make individual funding request to the CCG.
Previously was the impingement upon patient rights where the Harrow CCG has instructed GPs not to prescribe the items which the NHS England had said should be prescribed if the patents do not wish to buy. And the list can go on!

 

A Harrow counselling service ending

HCCThe Harrow Counselling Centre will be closing its doors after 30 years this week.
The qualified counsellor of 30 years and sole director Jackie Tancred is retiring and no one has come forward to take over the centre at Greenford Road.
The centre that saw over 2000 people during the last 15 years and has over 9000 telephone clients, offers a range of affordable professional counselling to the local community for both men, women and couples.
The service includes a skilled counsellor listening and helping clients to understand how past experiences, worries about the future or lack of confidence may be affecting their life. The counsellor will not tell what to do or give advice, but will help clients make their own choices.
When started, the centre tried to get funding through the health authority at the time but was refused. Since then the centre has been funded purely by the clients and the voluntary work of professionally qualified counsellors.
Describing the process to establish the centre, Jackie Tancred informed “Initially we put our own personal money into the centre and with the help of local communities who gave small donations, along with client fees have kept going”.
“Quite frankly I tried very hard to get someone to take over a flourishing, thriving counselling centre and could not – it is sad” she said.
“I do not think that there is anywhere that offers affordable professional counselling particularly for men in Harrow now” she added.

 

Starved NHS hits Harrow health care again

NS4North-West London GPs are urged against referring patients to hospital specialists and consultants, and some outpatient appointments will be axed, as part of a controversial programme of NHS to be introduced in London.
This is in addition to thirty three  procedures covered under PPwT policy for which hospitals have to make individual funding request to the NHS Harrow Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) where  the  treatment falls under the ‘not normally funded’ category.
Gareth Thomas, the Harrow West MP, said the new plans amounted to rationing.
Harrow East MP Bob Blackman, not really interested in Harrow issues, has shown no interest in the dire effects of rationing the health care.
The procedures for rationing looked at includes: knee replacement, knee arthroscopy (keyhole surgery), interventional treatments for back pain, varicose vein procedures, shoulder decompression and cataract surgery.
The sweeping changes were communicated in a letter from the North West London Collaboration of clinical commissioning groups (NWLCCCG), which funds NHS health services for more than two million Londoners, on the same day the prime minister reinforced his commitment to funding the NHS while announcing he was suspending parliament.
The expected deficit for 2019/20 in north-west London was previously £51m, but this has more than doubled with a further £61m identified – a total of £112m. Harrow CCG was put into special measures because its forecast deficit of £40 million.
Pamela Fitzpatrick Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Harrow East said “Boris Johnson claims to care about our NHS whilst outpatient appointments are axed and our walk in centres are being closed at a rapid rate”.
“We have suffered nine long years of cut backs and the public have simply had enough” she added.
It’s time to invest in our vital services and a Labour Government will give the NHS the money it needs, she said.
Adam Bernard, Liberal Democrat candidate for Harrow East, said “We understand that the NHS here is under a lot of pressure, but we are concerned by these proposed restrictions. It is important that all patients can get the specialist care they need”.
Lisa-Maria Bornemann, Liberal Democrat candidate for Harrow West, said “It’s alarming that the Conservative government is wasting money on Brexit, when the NHS is in desperate need of financial support.”
Previously, Harrow resident have been deprived of walk-in centres which allowed treatment of minor illnesses and injuries, without an appointment. This followed the impingement upon patient rights where the Harrow CCG has instructed GPs not to prescribe the items which the NHS England had said should be prescribed if the patents do not wish to buy.

 

Gareth Thomas on the ball

GarethAs the Tory government is in deep crisis, Labour MP for Harrow West Gareth Thomas assures “I am absolutely committed to acting in the national interest, making sure residents voice is heard, and will continue to do everything I can to prevent the Prime Minister from crashing this country out of the EU”.
Harrow majority voted to Remain in the EU!
His reassurance is welcoming as the MPs and Lords have passed the Bill to require the Prime Minister to seek and accept an extension of the Brexit deadline if a deal has not been agreed by 19 October and Parliament is still opposed to No Deal; it should soon receive Royal Assent and become law.
“I have always been opposed to leaving the EU without a deal as I believe it would be disastrous for our country. The Government’s own leaked assessments and warnings from leading industry figures have highlighted the damage it could cause” he said.
He reminds:
The British Medical Association has said that the consequences of No Deal could have “potentially catastrophic consequences for patients, the health workforce and services, and the nation’s health.”
Make UK, which represents 20,000 British manufacturers has said that leaving without a deal would be “the height of economic lunacy”.
The National Farmers’ Union has said that No Deal would have a “devastating impact” on British food and farming and “must be avoided at all costs”.
Those who would pay the price of No Deal would be working people, their families, and communities in Harrow and across the county, Mr Thomas said.
“It is absolutely vital that we first prevent a disastrous No deal Brexit taking place on October 31. Until that is secured, with no room for doubt, I can assure that I will be voting against any measures which allow for an early general election” he said.
On the other hand, Tory MP for Harrow East is colluding with Boris Johnson who has become the first premier since the Earl of Rosebery in 1894 to lose his first parliament vote. In one week this week, he has sacked 21 Tory MPs, has collapsed his own working majority from one to minus 43, has been deserted by his own brother as well as the Tory leader in Scotland, and has achieved defeats at the Commons and Lords.

 

Harrow hits Johnson hard for his plan to shut down parliament

Parliament is to ‘prorogue’ or shut down for five weeks as the prime minister has not got sufficient support in Parliament for his undemocratic No Deal Brexit plans. This will be the longest prorogation of Parliament since 1945.
“This is a shocking and scandalous decision by a Prime Minister who, far from seeking to unite the country, has sought to avoid scrutiny and accountability at every turn, not just from Parliament but from journalists and the media too” said Gareth Thomas, Labour MP for Harrow West.
“By shutting down Parliament, Boris Johnson is deliberately attempting to avoid any challenge to his deeply worrying plans to crash our country out of the European Union without a deal” he added.
Cllr Graham Henson, the leader of Harrow Council, said that the prime minister’s move to leave the EU without a deal would be a “disaster” for Harrow.
Highly concerned Pamela Fitzpatrick Labours parliamentary candidate for Harrow East said “Suspending Parliament to prevent scrutiny show us exactly what lengths this Prime Minister with no mandate will resort to. There is every indication that the UK is heading for a recession”.
She reminded the Financial Times editorial on 28/8/19: “History has shown that charlatans, demagogues and would-be dictators have little time for representative government. They seek ways around parliament before concluding it is an inconvenience.
“Mr Johnson may not be a tyrant, but he has set a dangerous precedent. He and the cabal around him who have chosen this revolutionary path should be careful what they wish for”.
Harrow’s Liberal Democrat candidates reacted angrily to the news of parliament’s prorogation.
Adam Bernard, Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Harrow East said: “Shutting down democracy in order to force through a Brexit that neither the people nor Parliament want is the act of a dictator.”
Lisa-Maria Bornemann, Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Harrow West said: “Boris Johnson has shown that all he cares about is getting his own will, even when it comes at the expense of damaging our country. This behaviour is selfish and cowardly, and it must be stopped”.
As expected, Tory MP for Harrow East Bob Blackman supports shutting down the parliament to impress certain voters in his highly marginal seat that the Brexit would enable more trade with India and Israel.
Strong public feelings at the Defend Democracy – Downing Street demo against shutting down parliament, held on 31 August 2019 (footage below)

Belmont walk-in health services likely to be cut

After closing the walk-in centre at Alexandra Avenue, Harrow Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is all set to end walk-in services at Belmont Health Centre, one of the remaining two such services in the borough.
Walk-in Centres and Urgent Care Centres (UCCs) are an alternative to accident and emergency (A&E) departments and treat minor illnesses and injuries, without an appointment.
Speaking at the Commons in April this year, Harrow West MP Gareth Thomas warned, “Not only is there no prospect that the Alexandra Avenue walk-in centre will be reopened, but other walk-in centres that serve Harrow are vulnerable to the threat of closure at a moment’s notice”.
Harrow East MP Bob Blackman, busy in attracting some voters by siding with Indian-occupied Kashmir politics, has not shown any such interest in this Harrow issue!
adamAdam Bernard (photo), Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for Harrow East has started a petition to save the Belmont walk-in services.
“The plan seems to be that Harrow CCG will save money by forcing many people to seek treatment elsewhere. That plan might be good accountancy but it doesn’t seem likely to be good for patients” said Mr Bernard.
He is particularly worried that they justify this change by saying that it will allow them to deny services to people who live outside Harrow.
“Their plan has the effect of moving the costs to other CCGs, as well as inconveniencing patients in the process” Mr Bernard says.
PamHarrow councillor Pamela Fitzpatrick (photo), Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Harrow East, has criticised proposals to close the Belmont Walk in Centre and urged the government to provide sufficient resources to allow the centre to remain open.
Harrow CCG was put into special measures because its forecast deficit of £40 million due to the NHS cuts.
“The closure of Belmont Walk in Centre could not come at a worse time. The winter is approaching, Northwick Park is already overstretched and local people are often having to wait weeks for a GP appointment. This will only get worse if Belmont walk in clinic is closed” warns Ms Fitzpatrick.
Under the Labour government from 2000, 230 Walk in centres were opened nationwide – the Lib Dem/Tory Coalition government of 2010 closed 51 and the Tory government has closed a further 44 of the remaining 185 centres.

Is council using parking charges and penalties money well?

parkCouncils in England could make a record surplus of £1bn from parking charges and penalties this year, reports BBC.
RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding described £1bn as “quite a windfall from a service that is intended to be all about managing traffic”.
Harrow council made £8.310 million in 2017/18 and £9.174 million in 2018/19 which ought to be spent on local transport improvement – for example to providing a high quality parking service and a fair, consistent and transparent approach to parking management and sensible traffic enforcement.
The money made includes the fine collected from Penalty Charge Notices. Harrow council issued 168,079 PCNs in 2017-18 compared with 78,333 in Hillingdon, 190,737 in Brent and 241,350 in Barnet.
Many feel that on times the PCN is a easy way to generate revenue rather than in the interest of traffic management. The PCN validity depends on who is issuing it and how it is issued, according to a ruling at the High Court.
As well as managing Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs) and local parking schemes, the council also enforces other traffic and parking. This includes: School Keep Clear Enforcement, Yellow Line Enforcement, bus lanes and bus stop parking as well as on-street pay and display parking bays.