"Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you," said the wisest of wise men. "The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon."

('The Alchemist' Paulo Coelho)

Sunday, September 03, 2017


You may remember a post I did a while ago about delays in allowing GPs to work in Wales, which was of particular interest to us as our surgery had come under the control of Betsi Cadwalader University Health Board, and things were not going well.
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.
Jenny Aspin

 In the meantime, I think we might be going to have to chain ourselves to railings somewhere ...


Graham Edwards said...

"Good luck" is all that I can say.

Jenny Aspin said...

Thanks, Graham. I'm not holding my breath.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Well done for actually doing something and not just grumbling. If you don't get an acceptable response to your letter you should try to crank up the issue. Involve your MP and the local press. It is your right to have access to primary healthcare. After all, you and Keith and the other 9000 have paid for it in advance.

Jenny Aspin said...

MPs can't do much as Health is devolved, but we are getting onto local councillors and possibly local press, radio etc. Ironically, BCUHB has given the most pay increases above the recommended level to chiefs. NOT good value for money to say the least!


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