I did get an answer to my query, basically saying that they have speeded up the process and anyway, that lot in NHS England are even slower when the movement is from Wales to England.-->
However, things have now moved on. A wonderful doctor took the place under her wing and developed a plan for keeping the health centre in business and even offering extra services. Unfortunately, this weekend we learned that because she was tired of hitting 'brick wall after brick wall' in her dealings with BCUHB and her efforts to get them to back her, she has now resigned and we are back in limbo, with a scary lack of, well anything really.
So, time to hit the keyboard again and I have fired off an email to our local Welsh Assembly Member, with an additional one to Vaughan Gething, who is our Secretary for Health.
'Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more ...' to quote Henry fifth!
Dear Mr Skates,
You may remember Mark Drakeford in 2016 maintaining that we in North Wales were 'crying wolf' over the recruitment crisis of GPs. Unfortunately, the chickens have now come home to roost and for over a year now, we 9000 patients at Pen y Maes health centre, Gwersyllt, Wrexham, have been suffering day to day with a crisis situation. The staff who are there have been doing an amazing job under extremely difficult conditions, but there have been times when no doctors have been available and people have ended up in A&E at Wrexham Maelor in a far worse state than they would have been had they had timely access to a doctor. It isn't difficult to see that this puts even more pressure on an already overstretched service at the hospital and one wonders how soon before the first preventable death occurs.
To add insult to injury, it seems that an amazingly driven and committed doctor who has been working there, produced a viable and much needed plan for the future of the practice, but has now resigned as she has, to quote 'hit brick wall after brick wall' when dealing with BCUHB. Given that BCUHB is still in special measures, I am at a complete loss to understand how the Board can be allowed to be obstructive in a situation like this. We don't even have the option of transferring to other practices, even if we wanted to, as there are already two in the area about to be taken under BCUHB control and others have closed their lists as they are unable to take on any more patients, much less 9000 of us. I am particularly concerned about hints that staff do not want to work for BCUHB east area, which would seem to suggest that, rather than an out and out shortage of GPs, there is a shortage of GPs willing to work here. To quote 'Hamlet' 'Something is rotten in the state of Denmark' (for Denmark, substitute BCUHB).
As AM for our area, I and the rest of Pen y Maes's patients, would urge you to look into this matter as soon as possible. The uncertainty and lack of regular medical provision is extremely concerning and is a worry that those who are already suffering from health problems can well do without.
I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible and I shall also be contacting Vaughan Gething in his capacity of Cabinet Secretary for Health.
In the meantime, I think we might be going to have to chain ourselves to railings somewhere ...