Monday, 20 September 2021

Hospital staff may use video messaging

STAFF at Townlands Hospital in Henley may use video messaging to help treat patients.

STAFF at Townlands Hospital in Henley may use video messaging to help treat patients.

Retired GP Peter Ashby said this could be an option under the new arrangements for GP cover at the hospital, which will be provided by the Oxford University Hospital Trust from April 1.

In January, the Bell and Hart street surgeries lost the contract with the hospital after almost 30 years.

But now talks are taking place to see if the trust and the surgeries could work together to provide GP services and visits to patients on Peppard ward.

Dr Ashby, a founding member of the Townlands Steering Group, said: “The concept of having a consultant doctor in Oxford saying, â??I am terribly sorry, I will be there in about five hours’ time’ is unworkable.

“They will have some nominated consultant or scheme to manage more difficult cases or give advice in a Skyping conversation with staff but there needs to be some local input.

“I believe the ongoing discussions are based on the need to cover that side of it. We hope it will resolve itself.”

Dr Ashby said the doctors at the two surgeries were “genuinely upset” to lose the contract.

Town councillor Ian Reissmann, who chairs the steering group, said the decision by the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust not to renew the contract was in order to increase medical provision at community hospitals across the county.

He said: “What Oxford Health wants to do is delegate to a single organisation which can commission the services, in this case Oxfordshire University Hospitals, in a way suitable to different hospitals.

“In Henley we are very lucky to have two surgeries right next door and GPs who can help out. Not every hospital has that.”

He said he had been assured that “sensible arrangements” would be put in place and that the Henley GPs would not be precluded as they were still valued.

Cllr Reissmann also said Amber Solutions, the company responsible for the current redevelopment of Townlands, would continue to make presentations about progress to the steering group every three months.

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