Public meeting to be held on health cuts in Burnham-On-Sea
public meeting is to be held in Burnham-On-Sea this week for residents
to air their views about health provision following the news that
vital Warfarin blood testing is being withdrawn at the town's medical
centre due to a shortage of doctors and nurses.
first reported here
by Burnham-On-Sea.com, Burnham & Berrow Medical Centre has written
to patients stating that it has been unable to recruit new staff
to replace several of its doctors and nurses who have recently retired
- and that it has "to concentrate resources on providing essential
general practice services."
from July 1st, the crucial Warfarin blood testing and management
service is being withdrawn and patients have been advised to use
other medical centres instead.
meeting is to be held at 7pm this Thursday, 15th June, at the BAY
Centre in Cassis Close, Burnham-On-Sea to discuss changes to healthcare
provision in the
Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge area.
by Unite Somerset Community Branch and Bridgwater Trades Council,
the meeting will be open to all.
told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "There will be a chance for local
people to voice their concerns about recent service closures as
well as to build a campaign to oppose any future healthcare cuts."
Saturday 3rd June many Burnham and Berrow Medical Centre patients,
who take the anticoagulant drug Warfarin, received a letter telling
them that the CCG has decided to close the Warfarin Clinic provided
at the surgery from 30th June. The letter told them that they would
either have to change to a different drug, or change their GP surgery."
news has been shocking, not only to the patients concerned, but
also to their families, friends and carers. Many of the patients
who received this letter will have complex health needs, and some
may be quite vulnerable."
letter will have caused stress and anxiety to many. Many of the
patients will have experienced considerable worry while waiting
for the surgery to open on Monday morning. The letters were sent
out on Friday 2nd June."
the Burnham-On-Sea area the choice of surgery is limited, most patients
will only have a choice of Highbridge Medical Centre or Burnham
and Berrow Medical Centre. Some patients will have very good reasons
for not wanting to change."
closure of the Warfarin service at Burnham and Berrow Medical Centre
comes after a series of other changes to local healthcare provision.
The secretive 'Sustainability and Transformation Plan' that is currently
under development is likely to result in more cuts to local services."
& Berrow Patient Participation Group says it is also worried
about the changes. Its spokesman told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "Very
vulnerable patients with absolutely no choice other than to use
this service for what could prove to be life threatening situations,
have been told by letter that they will need to register at an alternative
GP Surgery to get this service in the future. These patients have
effectively less than four weeks notice because of the cessation
of this provision by Burnham & Berrow Medical Centre."
and discussions have obviously carried out below the radar, it would
seem for almost a year, with even the Patient Participation Group
being kept completely in the dark until Friday 2nd June when the
Management Partner Mrs Debbie Hale phoned two members. There appears
to have been no thought for patients' peace of mind, many of whom
are elderly, relying at times on dedicated carer support. These
patients will have difficulty coming to terms with this and changing
to another medical practice. Some patients have been taking Warfarin
for over twenty years."
partners at the Burnham and Berrow Medical Centre said in their
letter: "Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is the
authority that plans and funds local health services, and they are
responsible for ensuring that people on Warfarin are able to get
the testing and supervision they need. Not all GP practices offer
this service, and in one location in the county a different GP practice
does this for a nearby practice."
July 2016 we gave notice to the Somerset CCG, that due to significant
changes within our Practice that we would discontinue provision
of this service from January 2017. This decision was not taken lightly
by the Practice and we have looked at all other options to enable
us to continue with the service. To give the CCG more time to find
a suitable provider, we have continued (with the help of an excellent
Locum nurse funded by the CCG) to provide this service for our patients
until the end of June, but with holidays approaching this is not
trying very hard for several months and having detailed discussions
with several different potential providers, Somerset CCG has not
been able to find anyone to take on provision of this service for
Burnham & Berrow Medical Centre patients. With regret, it has
been agreed that anyone who needs to continue to take Warfarin will
need to register with a different GP practice so that they can provide
you with your essential blood testing and meet your future health
care needs. This is not the outcome anyone would have wished and
is disappointing for all concerned."
we have discussed the potential for this with the majority of eligible
patients, there may still be some patients on Warfarin that can
change to a different type of anticoagulation medication that does
not need frequent blood testing, but for others there is no safe
have enclosed a sheet of Frequently Asked Questions, which includes
an explanation of who may be eligible to change to this alternative
type of medication. If you fall into this category and would like
to consider this as an alternative to registering with another Practice,
then please let us know as soon as possible and we can arrange an
appointment with the relevant Healthcare Professional at the Practice
to review this with you."
do not stop taking your Warfarin without discussing the options
with one of our GPs or Clinical Pharmacist as this could be very
we respect the right of patients to decide for themselves whether
or not to take medication, it is very important that you understand
all the risks of making changes to your anticoagulant treatment
before you do so."
are very sorry that we are having to make this change and we hope
that in due course our recruitment difficulties can be resolved
and that we will be able to start offering the service again."