Bridge ward monthly report 34

IMG_0819.JPGThe weather didn’t match July’s – blighting at least three events – and some of the news was a downer – most outrageously the manner of consultation over the closure of Wilford Grove Surgery. The closure / merger emphasises why we need to be concerned about changes in the financing and management of the NHS.
There was however an upbeat reaction to the first test run of the tram down Queens Walk and the story poles have turned out well.
Friends of Meadows Library did their first history walk of The Meadows.
Some energy gone into voter registration events for young people, with bus pass campaigning pensioners from Walsall kinda showing why younger people need to vote in bigger numbers.
Next month sees the new Riverside school extension opening and all the primary schools providing free school meals for years 1 and 2- a national government policy you might want to celebrate – except of course they dictated it but didn’t fund it all.
We will also aim to support a NeMTRA meeting on tram route landscaping and council house decommissioning; and a possible Parks/OMTRA meeting on renewing the cricket pavilion.

But if August carries a bit of a downer, maybe it’s -
– the Ukraine and Russia starting to come to blows;
– IS in Iraq;
– Israel and Gaza;
– the ebola breakout in one part of Africa; famine in another.

Draft of fuller end of month report available.

TO BE COMPLETED.

GPs set upon closing Wilford Grove surgery

The surgery that has served the people of The Meadows for 110 years is being closed on 30th September.
At a meeting of the Primary Care Panel a week ago, the resolve was affirmed, despite the poor consultation process, a failure even now to be able to discuss external perspectives of quality of service and the closure being done in less than the expected 3 months.
Reasons cited at a consultation meeting called by the 3 GPs and various representatives of the NHS that are driving the change include -
– the retirement of the experienced female doctor at the Wilford Grove surgery;
– new commissioning arrangements that make it more challenging for smaller practices to provide a range of services;
– a new regime (starting next year) that might decide to close surgeries like Wilford Grove on the grounds of health & safety, and infection control, immediately;
– the lease of the existing surgery ending on 30th Sept.;
– direction of funds away from GPs serving neighbourhoods with higher levels of poverty;
– the NHS not having the money it needs.
The risks are plain; that the merger of the 3 GP practices are being driven by factors other than those being discussed and are not taking concerns about existing services (expressed through patient choices) on board.
The new merged practice will be known as “Bridgeway Centre”.
As Chair of Area 8, I have the placed the matter at its next public meeting on September 10th.

Sort of unacceptable

A public opinion surveyor called by, and having a couple of friends who have these kinds of jobs, I agreed to take part.
The survey in the end was disappointing. Its main question – are the TV schedules filled with trash – was too stark, cos who can fairly say that they are?
There has been some excellent TV this year – I’ve celebrated Sherlock, Fargo, Line of Duty and even Pointless on these pages.
What I was aching to say is -
– that the soaps are awful and do not do what they professed once to set out to do – to portray ordinary lives;
– that the competition programmes, that should be an opportunity to deliver skill, are tainted by inappropriate application of stress;
– that the music programmes have destroyed the culture and creativity British music once had;
– that news programmes need to report rather than merely affirm that journalists knew best all along;
– that politics programmes cannot succeed whilst their agenda is that politics is rubbish and nothing can get done;
– that sport programmes are weakened by the emphasis on sports psychology;
– that if the best in comedy is Michael MacIntrye and the best in chat show programmes is Graham Norton then we need change bad;
– that Dr Who became flawed by making the Daleks too difficult to beat and by repeated destructions, and then restorations of, the universe.
(Maybe a bit much to expect the last point to be tested for in an opinion survey.)
So lots to complain about; but you just can’t say that the TV schedules are full of trash.
British TV and social media hit a new low this week when the Great British Bake Off asked contestants to make an ice-cream based pudding in a marquee that was too hot. The stress was too much and an old lady made a mistake with someone else’s desert, which that contestant then binned. A hate campaign in the social media was launched against a 69 year old lady, 800 members of the public asked regulators to intervene for the contestant whose desert had failed and pleasure has been taken from news that the lady has since retired from the competition – overlooking that the lady has suffered a fall hurting her face and damaging her ability to taste and smell. Some welcome sanity from Ruby Tandoh who attacks the makers of the programme in The Guardian.
“sort of unacceptable” cites Ruby.

Defend the free bus services pass for older people

IMG_4224b0671h Sherwood Rise Walsall pensioners petitionThe Walsall Pensioners’ Convention joined the end of the Mansfield to Nottingham leg of the Jarrow to London NHS march.
They’ve organised a petition of 110,000 names – none of them electronic they’re quick to say – in defence of the free bus services pass for older people and are to present it in London on 10th September.
Album of photos available from me and from the campaign
.