A health chief said responses to plans on the future of GP surgeries in and around Banbury can be made after the deadline after confusion over whether or not it was a consultation.
At the Community Partnership Network meeting on Friday, Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s Diane Hedges said not to worry about making submissions on its primary care locality-based proposal for north Oxfordshire after the deadline on Sunday (December 17).
Campaigners, councillors and Cherwell District Council directors were among those annoyed about the two-week window to submit responses to the plan, which highlights priorities for the area, described as the county’s most challenging.
Ms Hedges said the plan had been presented at workshops since November and this was a chance for more discussion ahead of January’s OCCG board meeting, but submissions could be made afterwards as it was not an official consultation.
The OCCG chief operating officer said she was humbled talking to patients at the workshop in Banbury and believed the town has some of the most serious issues in Oxfordshire.
“From my countywide vantage point, I am really clear that Banbury is the most challenged area so what we need to do about primary care, the locality and sustainability of general practice is very significant,” she said.
Ms Hedges listed numerous reasons the town is struggling including issues recruiting new doctors, high deprivation, higher than average mortality rate, some poor Care Quality Commission ratings, and mounting administration.
Meeting chairman Cllr Andrew McHugh said there was a ‘price war’ for locum doctors with some being paid £850 a day.
Ms Hedges outlined what the CCG, which is the organisation responsible for planning health services, plans to do to tackle the problems, such as allowing those patients who want to see any doctor or clinician the same day to do so, while others, usually the elderly or people with long-term concerns, can see the same doctor regularly.