Monday, 02 August 2021

Talks over Townlands contract with GPs

TALKS are taking place which could mean Henley GPs will continue to work at Townlands Hospital.

TALKS are taking place which could mean Henley GPs will continue to work at Townlands Hospital.

The Henley Standard understands that the Bell and Hart surgeries have been approached to see how they could work together with the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust in running GP services and visits to the Peppard Ward.

It comes two weeks after we revealed that the two practices had lost the contract to care for patients at Townlands after almost 30 years.

A meeting was held on Monday to discuss the possibility of the Henley doctors working alongside the Oxford-based trust.

Dr Philip Unwin, of the Hart Surgery, said he was hopeful a deal could be reached within a week.

He said: “People have been so supportive of us and I would like to let them know that we are incredibly grateful of the support from the town.”

The current contract ends on March 31. The Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust says the decision not to renew it was in order increase medical provision at community hospitals across the county.

Ian Reissmann, a town councillor who chairs the Townlands Steering Group, said “What Oxford Health is doing is trying to set up a county-wide system but Henley has different factors and possibilities and it had appeared for a while that they hadn’t been taken into account.

“It seems that now a common sense solution for Henley GPs to help provide services is being considered.”

The Bell and Hart surgeries have worked together to provide cover at Townlands and the doctors visited every patient on the ward at least once a day.

They carried out patient reviews, checked drug charts, discharged medication and organised blood and urine tests as well as writing up notes and doing other administrative tasks.

A spokesman for the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust said: “We have greatly valued the many years of medical cover provided by local GPs at many of our community hospitals and for our intermediate care beds.

“However, with the growing pressures within the NHS and in particular on primary care, it has become difficult to achieve the consistent levels of medical input that we need to manage acutely unwell patients within community hospitals.

“In the past year the trust has had to temporarily close beds due to staffing issues, which have included medical cover.

“In order to achieve the consistent levels of medical oversight which is needed across all Oxfordshire community hospitals and as the current contracts end on March 31, we had to put this work out to tender via the standard EU processes.

“We are pleased to confirm that Oxford University Hospitals has been named as preferred provider for the community hospital work. Contract negotiations have commenced with a view to having contracts in place from April 1.”

The move comes during the construction of a £16 million “health campus” at Townlands that will include inpatient, outpatient, ambulatory care, X-ray, podiatry, physiotherapy and dentistry services.

There will also be a new 64-bed care home to replace Chilterns End in Greys Road.

The Sue Ryder hospice in Nettlebed will no longer be moving to the site, as the Henley Standard exclusively revealed in December.

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