Gareth Davies MP for Stamford and Bourne discusses Lakeside Healthcare
I can’t remember the maxim that a week is a long time in politics ever being truer - and that’s in the recent context of a pandemic, a global inflationary shock, and war in mainland Europe, writes Gareth Davies MP for Stamford.
I regret the way things have unfolded, and I am grateful to Boris Johnson for delivering on our commitment to leave the EU, for getting the big calls right during the pandemic, and for ensuring that our friends and allies in Ukraine have the support they need.
Whatever the national political weather, I am always focused on the local issues that matter most to constituents. Of those issues, I have made strong healthcare services one of my priorities. In keeping with this, I wanted to take this opportunity to update residents on the status of Lakeside Healthcare following the recent Care Quality Commission (CQC) report.
As I have written before in these pages, ever since the NHS was founded, GP services have been an independent service contracted by the NHS. The Health and Social Care Act of 2012 set up clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to replace primary care trusts as the body responsible for procuring local GP services in England. The key difference was that CCGs would be made up of local clinicians and therefore more responsive to local needs.
We all deserve access to good GP services, and anything that falls short of that standard is a cause for significant concern. My responsibility as an MP is to ensure that this concern is heard by those responsible. I have therefore been in regular contact on this issue with our CCG and its leader, John Turner, throughout my time as MP. In those meetings, I have repeatedly made it clear that Lakeside needs to change or be changed – especially now after the CQC report assessed the practice as still requiring improvement.
Patient participation groups (PPGs) are another valuable vehicle for change. They are made up of a group of practice patients who meet regularly to discuss quality of service and to provide feedback. We are fortunate in Stamford to have an active and engaged PPG. Events are well attended, and I had the privilege of meeting with a member of our local PPG recently to discuss the ongoing issues in Stamford and we will continue to work together to represent the views of residents.
Lakeside now has six months to show ‘sufficient improvement’, otherwise the CQC will initiate its enforcement procedures. I fully hope and expect that the situation will turn around.
More widely, at a national level, the recent Health and Care Act has introduced some significant reforms, such as integration of services across the community and digitisation, which I expect to improve outcomes for us here locally.
Amidst all the changes of the last week, my commitment to facilitating improvement in whatever capacity I can remains the same – whether that’s by conveying views locally, or by helping pass legislation nationally.