Colyton Health Centre maintenance charges problem is widespread since NHS Property Services took over, according to GP Online

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imagesSeaton and Colyton Medical Practice are not alone in experiencing savagely increased maintenance charges at Colyton Health Centre (pictured).

GP Online reported in January: ‘GP leaders have been warning since 2016 that huge extra costs imposed through service charge hikes could force practices to close if they were not reversed.

‘GPC premises lead Dr Krishna Kasaraneni told GPonline: “In recent years, GPs leasing their surgery buildings from NHSPS have been hit by rocketing service charges and maintenance fees, forcing many practices into financial difficulties, and ultimately leading some to consider their viability and whether they can continue to offer the same care to patients in future.

Bonuses 

The article also reveals that bosses earned five-figure bonuses … on top of five-figure salaries! Dr Kasaraneni added: ‘”At a time when the NHS is under so much financial pressure and NHSPS publicly blames these same practices for its £40.9m deficit, it adds insult to injury to learn it has paid its top executives such sky-high bonuses.”‘

Seaton Town Council joins the fight for Colyton Fire Station

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The Town Council has told the Fire Service: ‘Seaton Town Council wishes to express its alarm about the way in which the ‘Safer Together’ proposals will affect the town. As your own documents show, the 8,500 people in Seaton will be among over 600,000 who will experience greater risk to their lives as a result of the proposals. The closure of Colyton Fire Station will remove the second engine for property fires in Seaton, which will mean that NO second engine will be available reach Seaton within the 13 minute required response time. Even more seriously, in the minority of cases where the Seaton engine cannot be launched in time, the closure of Colyton will mean that no engine will be able to reach Seaton in much under 20 minutes. This represents a completely unacceptable increase in risk to the residents of Seaton, and the Town Council urges the Fire Authority to withdraw all proposals which involve the closure of Colyton Fire Station.’

When ownership of Colyton Health Centre was handed over to NHS Property Services, maintenance charges soared while actual maintenance deteriorated. The matter is going to Health Scrutiny next week.

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imagesSeaton and Colyton Medical Practice have been fighting a long-running battle over rapidly rising charges for the Health Centre. Total maintenance charges rose from £5556 in 2015-16 (the last year before NHS Property Services took over) to £15,422.66 in 2016-17 and £34,657.39 in 2017-18, with the threat of their topping £40,000 this year. As users will realise, these are ludicrous figures for a building the size of a small bungalow, and the Practice is contesting them.

At the same time, actual service under the maintenance contract has been lamentable – the Centre was still without hot water last week after the boiler broke down in June. The Practice has brought the matter to my attention and I have put it on the agenda of the Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee next Tuesday (pp 87-90).

NHS Property Services is a company set up by the Government to manage the NHS estate, with a mandate to charge commercial rents and, where appropriate, sell ‘surplus’ property. The Health Centre was handed over to the company in 2016, along with our community hospitals, when the RD&E took over our area from the North Devon trust.  

Helping teenagers to learn to eat and cook healthily – new funding for Seaton sessions

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I’ve committed money from my Locality Budget to support the local charity, Health and Local Food for Families (HALFF), run cooking sessions for Seaton Library’s teenage drop-in group. The aim is to help young people to learn to cook good healthy meals, to help with their self-sufficiency and health in later life. It all fits well with the aims of Seaton Area Health Matters. HALFF’s shop in South Street, Axminster, is pictured.

Fire Services aren’t supposed to cause ‘fire sales’, but ours aims to cash in the property value of Colyton and other stations in return for a vague promise of ‘more prevention’ – read my 21-point response to the consultation

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MY RESPONSE IS HERE

YOU NOW HAVE ONLY UNTIL SUNDAY (22nd) to submit your response – send to Safertogetherprogramme@dsfire.gov.uk or go online at https://www.dsfire.gov.uk/SaferTogether/ (but be warned that all 7 options include closing the 8 stations including Colyton).