MP's fears over surgery services

PUBLISHED: 10:56 08 March 2007 | UPDATED: 12:18 04 May 2010

MP Jim Paice fears East Cambridgeshire could become the poor relation for medical care following the merger of the county s health providers. Mr Paice spoke out after stepping into the row over the poor service at Ely s Octagon Surgery. He is calling fo

MP Jim Paice fears East Cambridgeshire could become the poor relation for medical care following the merger of the county's health providers.

Mr Paice spoke out after stepping into the row over the "poor service" at Ely's Octagon Surgery.

He is calling for an urgent meeting with Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust to discuss the problems at the surgery following complaints from patients.

Mr Paice, who represents South East Cambridgeshire, said there was a risk of East Cambridgeshire suffering after its primary care trust was merged with others across Cambridgeshire which were in debt.

"But the mere fact that the PCT is in debt is because the Government keeps changing the structures of healthcare provision," he said.

Mr Paice was speaking after 200 residents attended a meeting called by the PCT to discuss the future of health care at the Octagon Surgery and set up a practice patient participation group.

Patients complain that constantly changing locum doctors who are not up to date with medical histories are making the situation unbearable at the surgery based at Ely's Princess of Wales Hospital.

"It's a complete shambles," said Mr Paice. "GP services in Ely have been in a mess for some time.

"Access to GP services has been dramatically reduced by the decisions that have been made.

"It is quite clear that we need three practices back in place. There are more and more people moving into Ely and I will not be satisfied until this problem is resolved."

Until last year, the Octagon was run by the Sutton surgery. But a new pharmacy in the village took away some of its medicine dispensing businesses and doctors announced they could no longer afford to run the Octagon.

The surgery was transferred to the PCT and shares a team of doctors with the hospital's Lantern Centre minor injuries unit.

Cambridgeshire PCT assistant director of primary care, Matthew Smith, said "The PCT does recognise that there have been significant changes in staffing over the past six months at the two practices in Ely, which have meant that we have not been able to offer the level of service we would have wished.

"Progress has been made to improve this situation with three permanent doctors and an extra nurse now appointed. We are currently recruiting for a further GP.

"I am confident that the service will improve but we do recognise that the people of Ely need greater consistency in staffing. We are meeting Mr Paice this week and hope we will be able to reassure him of the plans and timetable that are in place to develop GP services in Ely that are responsive to local need.

"In the meantime, services at the Lantern and Octagon Surgeries continue to be available.

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