Update on Llanharan and Pencoed GP and Primary Care Provision
From Huw Irranca-Davies, Assembly Member for Ogmore, 5th July 2016
First of all, my sincere thanks to the organisers of the well-attended public meeting recently at Llanharan Rugby Club, and also to all those who attended, including GPs and the Practise Manager from the Pencoed surgery. It was a useful and constructive meeting, which made clear that there is real support to move forward, and a will to find a satisfactory solution which will benefit the growing populations of Llanharan and of Pencoed.
One of the related issues that I highlighted at the public meeting was that of the clear need for effective communication with local people, so that everyone was aware of developments, and also aware of the challenges in resolving the situation which we will need to meet together. So I hope this short update from me will help keep people abreast of developments.
As I explained during the meeting, I had already begun discussing ways to resolve the primary care issues with some of the key stakeholders some weeks before, as this issue was being raised with me regularly on the doorsteps and in meetings in Llanharan. Local councillors and community councillors had also been working diligently behind the scenes, to persuade key stakeholders of the necessity of resolving the issue. My thanks to them for their continuing efforts, which will also be critical going forward.
These efforts, combined with the added impetus of the public meeting, gives us some optimism and confidence that we can push forward to find a resolution, if the goodwill to do so is maintained and we work together. But this will not happen overnight, and neither will it be easy. There are many obstacles to overcome. However, I can now report that because of the discussions over recent weeks and months some progress is now already under way.
The Working Group
My thanks to the two local health boards – ABMU and Cwm Taf – who have agreed to put together a working group (also involving the two respective Community Health Councils (CHC’s), and the existing GP practise) – to bring forward proposals for meeting the needs of the Llanharan and Pencoed populations, focussed on bringing real improvements to local primary care and GP coverage. They will shortly put out their own statement on this Working Group.
I have encouraged them to consider all possible options, and to report back openly to local residents and to do so within a reasonable timeframe. I anticipate that the group will reasonably require the summer to begin unwrapping some very complex issues before reporting back in the early Autumn.
I have also asked the CHCs (as part of the working group) to contact directly the organisers of the recent public meeting, and to also maintain contact with the local councillors and community councillors who have been diligently for some time raising concerns and seeking a resolution to these issues.
The working group will proceed, focused on the task described, and has agreed to report back publicly to the local community and answer questions. I understand that the Working Group will be making their own statement in the coming days.
Community Health Councils, and Engagement with local patients and residents.
My thanks also to the two Community Health Councils who have agreed to work together to engage with local residents so that they can fully reflect local concerns and views on the shape of future provision in the area, and also the recent reduction in GP surgery hours in Llanharan. The Community Health Councils are the voice of patient care locally, and can articulate those views effectively on the working group.
I have specifically requested that the CHC’s contact directly the organisers of the recent public meeting, and also maintain communication with local councillors and community councillors.
Between the efforts of the CHCs and the working group I am confident that the community concerns are being heard, that all options can be fully explored, and that regular communication will take place on progress.
Finally, I have also met with the Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary of Health, Well-Being and Sport (Vaughan Gethin AM) to discuss local concerns in light of the Welsh Government’s ambitious strategy for primary care. He is also keen to see a resolution in line with this strategy, and has asked to be kept informed of progress.
Thanks again to all involved in seeking to work together constructively on this important issue.
Here are the details for Cwm Taf Health Council, and ABMU Health Councils, which represent local issues to the Health Authorities. You can contact them directly with concerns (or even put yourself forward as a member) but do have a scan of these pages to see the important work they do representing patient interests:
Here are the details of the Welsh Government plans for primary care, which can help inform the shaping of services locally